Suffering is a pain that we all know and go through in our daily life. When someone suffers they undergo a feeling of pain or distress. Almost immediately after feeling such a pain, we go to God and ask him why he let this pain on us. One of the most controversial topics is whether or not God intended for us to suffer. In early Christian thought, religion and life suffering was essential. They got through their suffering by striving from that weakness.
One of the first thoughts when thinking about Christianity or the New Testament is how Jesus suffered on the Cross. In Mark 8:31-38 Jesus foreshadows his own death and suffering. Jesus was temporarily abandoned by his followers (Mark 14:50), but when he died for our sins his followers surrounded him. In Mark 15:33-34 he is calling for God while he is on the cross he said “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” At this moment Jesus was left alone, no human on earth could come help and comfort him. His own father even abandoned him, leaving him nothing, but pain and tears. Jesus’ biggest suffering was the fact that he carried the burden of the sins of the world. He initially carried this agony in Gethsemane where he so intensely sweated out blood. In the end Jesus tasted death and suffered for us. It was that intense, that he literally died on the cross and suffered for us, his children that he loved so much. The Son of God, the one who was most deserving of life because he never sinned before died for all of us. In 1 Peter 3:18 it says that Christ died for all the sins and unjust, so that in the end he can bring us closer to God.
The pain that is inflicted on you often reveals God’s purpose for you. He wants you to help others that are going through the same pain as you. In 2 Corinthians 1:4-6 he says, “… that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble.” What he means is, with our past experiences we can help people cope with their current experience that is similar to that of our past. This is called redemptive suffering. It’s when you go through a pain or problem that can benefit and help others. Jesus was the first to redemptively suffer by dying for our sins to help us forgive ourselves.
One question we all have is why does God this all-loving creature, allow for his children to suffer and feel evil? I think he did it to see us strive from the pain and suffering we feel. Suffering is a feeling we have from the beginning to the end of our life. Human suffering can take many forms: natural, moral, social, psychological, and physical. Suffering is an inescapable form we feel, and not many people liked to be in that state of suffering. Suffering usually occurs when you or a friend is in a state of aging, sickness, or death. When you suffer most is when you are hit by an unexpected action such as, a friend passing away at a young age, or a family member getting cancer. God loves us as his own, but he wants us to be able to go on with life even when we are suffering.
At first early followers of Jesus were shocked at what had happened to Jesus and felt a feeling of pain and suffering. Then with time it became clear to them that Jesus had been resurrected, and they used this knowledge to go on and preach his message to everyone. The story of Jesus’ resurrection brings a new name to Jesus Son of Man and the true messiah. He is then seen by his followers as much more than this. The news of Jesus resurrection spread fast amongst his followers. Traveling teachers and prophets went on to say that they needed to keep preaching Jesus’ message. Somehow the followers of Jesus needed to interpret how he was killed by Pontus Pilate and then resurrected by God. The followers turned to religion and the preaching’s of Christ to see if there was any indication of what to do next in the scriptures. John 3:16 speaks to the followers of Jesus and says anyone who believes in the word of God should not suffer, but have eternal life. This verse is saying the way to get full communion with God we need to excel in response to our pain and suffering.
A lot of times we suffer or feel some sort of depression it’s because of a love we feel for someone or something. Like previously said, you suffer when people die, age, or get sick and typically those people are ones you love. Love is the true answer as to “why” we suffer and feel pain. Romans 13:8-10 he says that you should love your neighbor, and that you can never pay back all the love you owe. God tries to tell us to replace the pain of envy and suffering by switching it with love and to love everyone. In 1 Peter 4:17-19 it even says that love is the source of sins and that it inflicts suffering on peoples lives.
God loves us as his children and doesn’t want to see us hurt, but given the evidence from the passages he intended for us to suffer. It’s not because he wants to see us in pain, but because he wants us to overcome the suffering. He knew that in the act of suffering we would excel in our future actions and gain strength from our suffering. We learn that the followers of Jesus suffer in his death but rejoice in his resurrection and look to fulfill his prophecy.