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Will We Suffer if We Love God?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Faith, Hope, and Love, Part 11

by Jeremy Ham on June 22, 2011
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Many people have been led to believe that faithful Christians should never suffer, but this is not what the Bible teaches. Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., explains.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Today’s big question: will we suffer if we love God?

There are some who might argue that we won’t suffer because “all things work together for good to those who love God.” However, the evidence would seem to easily contradict this answer (see also 2 Timothy 3:12 and Hebrews 11:35–38). There are many self-professing Christians who suffer, including me.

I have to wear sunglasses everywhere due to my light sensitivity. While wearing sunglasses in places such as a restaurant, I sometimes get people asking me, “do you realize the sun is not shining in here?” They do not know that I suffer with light-sensitivity.

Although I love God—and the more I learn and experience, the more I love Him—I do indeed suffer. So, either there are many people who, despite what they profess, are not Christians, or there is some other explanation.

First, we must recognize that “all things” refers to both good and bad things. God uses both good and bad things “for good to those who love God.” But how can something bad be good for believers? Let me give you an example that will help explain.

Before a church gathering one day, I could not find my prescription sunglasses anywhere. I was concerned I would have to go without them—and wear my regular prescription glasses while suffering through the headaches. But thanks be to God, I eventually found them on the floor of my car. Through this small trial, I learned to love God even more. I became more grateful for the blessings God has given me.

Isaiah declared, “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). God shapes and molds His people through many different circumstances. We must also remember the reason we suffer in the first place is a result of the Curse. Although God works through it, our suffering is a consequence of man’s sin.

Furthermore, our bodies will someday be glorified. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

When considering the big picture, the suffering that Christians experience is only temporary and worthwhile. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Additionally, the amount of suffering we go through pales in comparison to the suffering that will be endured by those who do not love God.

Today’s big idea: suffering is temporary and worthwhile to those who love God.

What to pray: ask God to help you love Him more.

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