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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: How Can a Person Live with Suffering?

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Don Stewart

First of all we must understand that suffering is something that all of us, believer and unbeliever alike, will experience in this life. Even Jesus Christ suffered. In fact, his suffering was the means God used to accomplish our salvation. The Bible does not promise believers escape from suffering. Simon Peter wrote:

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though something strange happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4:12,13).

Believers Will Sometimes Suffer More

Sometimes the believer will seemingly suffer more than the unbeliever. This is because the unbelieving world hates those who stand for God's truth. Jesus said:

If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you (John 15:18,19).

God Made Promises To Believers Who Suffer

However God has made promises to the believer when he is suffering. King David said:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff; they comfort me (Psalm 23:4).

God has promised to be with and comfort those who suffer. Though God has promised to be with us we may not always understand why we are suffering. God has not obligated Himself to tell us why we suffer but He asks us to trust Him through our sufferings.

Suffering Led Job To Surrender To God

After experiencing tremendous suffering, the biblical character Job reached the point of surrendering himself to God. He then humbly said:

I know that you can do everything, and that no purpose of yours can be withheld from you. You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know . . . I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes (Job 42:2,3,6).


Those who believe in the God of the Bible are not promised relief from suffering in this life. Sometimes believers seemingly suffer more than non-believers. God has made promises to be with the believer who is suffering. We may not always understand why we suffer.

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