Coping with Undeserved Suffering - 27 January 2020

Neville Turley

TheLordis near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope. Psalm 34:18 (GNT)

A young newly married woman was diagnosed with terminal cancer, within months she would be dead. She turns to her pastor friend and despairingly asks; “I am a good Christian girl, why, why is this happening to me?”

Nothing causes us to question our faith more critically than the problem of undeserved suffering and nothing is more difficult to rationalise. In fact we cannot adequately answer it.

Suffering the consequences caused by one’s own wrongdoing, is easier to accept than being subjected to suffering outside one’s control.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the supreme example of undeserved suffering. Many Christians today still endure suffering and persecution for his sake. Peter has a special word of encouragement for them: “My dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful test you are suffering, as though something unusual were happening to you. Rather be glad that you aresharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may be full of joy when his glory is revealed.”(1 Peter 4:12-13)

Undeserved suffering has its root cause in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation and sin, suffering and death entered the world. Nothing and no one is exempted from that heritage. Bad things happen to believers and unbelievers alike.

But believers have hope in God’s love for us, who are co-heirs with his son. “I consider that what we suffer at this present time cannot be compared at all with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. All of creation waits with eager longing for God to reveal his children. For creation was condemned to lose its purpose, not of its own will, but because God willed it to be so. Yet there was the hope that creation itself would one day be set free from its slavery to decay and would share the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Romans 8:18-21)

Through suffering we can be drawn closer to God and for those who will share in his glory, there is no better place to be.

Prayer: Eternal God bring us, with the whole of creation, to your glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord who with you and the Holy Spirit reign over all things, now and forever. Amen