WHY DO WE SUFFER?
by Shawn Brasseaux
According to the Bible, there are three reasons why we suffer.
1. LIVING IN A SIN-CURSED WORLD
We live in a sin-cursed world, a fallen creation. We suffer the effects of sin. This includes bodily aches, pains, and illnesses. If the Lord tarries, we all will experience physical death as well! Lost and saved people alike suffer the effects of sin. No modern-day “miracle healing” will rescue us from sickness, old age, and death. This does not mean that we do not do the best we can with what we have. We should visit doctors and take medication, but our main concern is the renewal of the inner man (soul). We need to be constantly reminding ourselves of God’s truth by reading and studying God’s Word, the Bible, rightly divided, on a daily basis.
Let us consult Romans 8:18-25: “ For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.  For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
The only way we have “hope” of being rescued from these frail, limited, deteriorating bodies is to be reminded of the above Scriptures. One day, we will be physically redeemed from the effects of sin. What happened to our soul when we trusted Christ will also happen to these physical bodies! Our physical bodies will be redeemed from sin one day. Let us wait patiently for the Lord at the Rapture, to take us out of this present evil world (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; Philippians 3:20-21)!
2. LIVING THROUGH THE CONSEQUENCES OF MISTAKES
We also suffer because we make mistakes and others around us make mistakes. Some of these mistakes are unintentional; others are committed deliberately. Again, lost and saved people alike suffer because of mistakes. The Bible says we reap what we sow. God will not prevent us from reaping the consequences of our actions, both good and bad. If we are make poor decisions, we will suffer those terrible results. If we are make good choices, we will experience good results. The same applies to those around us. Whatever we do will affect them, and whatever they do will affect us.
The Bible says in Galatians 6:7-9: “ Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” And, Job 4:8: “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.” Finally, Romans 8:13: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
3. LIVING AS CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDST OF UNBELIEVERS
We Christians suffer because we live in this present evil world. Satan’s policy of evil and its associates aim to persecute God’s people in various ways. Corrupt human governments can pass legislation against Christians to scare them into silence. These Christians can be threatened with imprisonment, fines, torture, and/or death. In the United States of America, we are fortunate that we still have religious liberty. People in other countries are being imprisoned, tortured, and/or put to death for Jesus Christ. Satan can use others to threaten us and ridicule us. Furthermore, he can use our loved ones (family members and friends) to cause us grief and hinder our testimony (cf. Matthew 10:14-39, Jesus’ words to His 12 apostles).
Second Timothy 2:3 says: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” And, Acts 14:22: “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Finally, 2 Timothy 3:10-12: “ But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,  Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
The Lord Jesus said in John chapter 15: “ These things I command you, that ye love one another.  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.  If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.  He that hateth me hateth my Father also.  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” First John chapter 3 warns Israel’s believing remnant in light of Jesus’ words: “ For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.  Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.  Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”
Second Corinthians chapter 12 says that, no matter we suffer, no matter how much hatred the world spews at us, brethren, God’s grace has fully equipped us in Christ to handle all of life’s situations, good and bad: “ And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Finally, Philippians 4:11-13: “ Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
In closing…. If we must suffer, dear saints, let it be because of Christian living and not because of foolish living! 🙂