I have heard it said that at any given moment, a person is in a period of suffering, has just come out of a period of suffering, or will soon be entering a period of suffering.
As Christians we understand that this is because we live in a fallen world, and we, as part of that world, are also fallen and in need of restoration.
The Bible has a lot to say about suffering and how God uses it as part of his plan for bringing us into deeper relationship with himself. For example, in my daily Scripture reading I found this:
“I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. Let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.”Psalm 119:75–76, ESV
I was encouraged by the phrase, “in faithfulness you have afflicted me.”
It is not out of negligence. It is not out of malevolence. It is not because God does not care, that he allows suffering in our lives.
He is faithful even while we suffer.
The Psalmist wrote these words long before Jesus came and showed us the extent that God is willing to go to bring us into relationship with himself. To accomplish his mission of restoration, Jesus endured ultimate suffering on our behalf.
I am encouraged that the trials are not the end of the story. They are not the end because Jesus showed us that evil and death do not ultimately win. They are also not the end of the story because they are time bound and we are destined for eternity.
The Psalmist continues, “let your steadfast love comfort me according to your promise to your servant.” I like that. There are lots of promises in Scripture in which we can find comfort. Here is one of my favorites:
“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”John 14:2–3, ESV