Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. – James 1:2-3


The point is not to pretend to be happy when we face suffering but to have a positive outlook (consider it an opportunity for great joy) because of what suffering can produce in our lives. James tells us to turn our trials into times of learning. Tough times can teach us perseverance


  1. Purpose of Suffering

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. – Job 2:7

Perhaps the most painful question confronting the believer is the problem of suffering. Why does a loving and wise God permit His children to suffer? The Scriptures offers a number of reasons for this.

  1. To produce fruit. If we allow suffering to accomplish its purpose. It can bring forth patience, joy, knowledge and maturity.
  2. To silence the devil. Satan once accused Job of merely serving God for the material blessings involved. But the Lord allowed the devil to torment Job to demonstrate that His servant loved God because of who He was, and not for what he could get from Him.
  3. To glorify God.
  4. To make us like Jesus. ‘That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death’ – Philippians 3:10.
  5. To teach us dependence. This is brought out by both Christ and the apostle Paul.
  6. To refine our lives.
  7. To rebuke our sin. As a faithful earthly father must in love punish his erring child, so does our heavenly Father.
  8. To enlarge our ministry toward others. It has been observed that he who has suffered much speaks many languages.
  9. Responses to Suffering

and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” – Job 1:21

In the hour of suffering the Christian should attempt to determine first of all just why he may be suffering. One can suffer because of his position or his disposition. Peter brings this truth out in his first epistle: – ‘Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully’ – 1 Peter 2:18,19.

Suffering is often a two-sided coin. On the one side suffering may be viewed as coming from God to bring out the best in us. ‘By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,’ – Hebrews 11:17.

On the other side Satan attempts to use the same temptation and suffering to bring out the worst in us. Finally, the believer can react to suffering in three different ways:

  1. Despise it, that is, treat it too lightly, as did Esau his birthright. (Hebrews 12:5,6)
  2. Faint under it, that is, treat it too seriously. (Hebrews 12:5).
  3. Be exercised by it, that is, receive instruction from it. This is the reaction desired by God. (Hebrews 12:11-13)

During this time both Peter and Paul advise us to commit our pain and suffering to God, realizing He is faithful to work out all things for our good and God’s glory. James tell us to count it all joy when we experience these dark hours. (James 1:2)

  1. Examples of Suffering

They were angry with Jeremiah and had him beaten and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary, which they had made into a prison – Jeremiah 37:15

In the Word of God there are four great examples of believers suffering for the sake of righteousness. These are Joseph, Job, Jeremiah and Paul.

  1. The sufferings of Joseph: he was hated by his brothers, he was sold into slavery, he was severely tempted; and he was imprisoned.
  2. The sufferings of Job: His oxen and donkeys were stolen and his farmhands killed; his sheep and herdsmen were burned by a fire; his camels were stolen and his servants killed; his sons and daughters died in a windstorm and he was struck with boils.
  3. The sufferings of Jeremiah: He was persecuted by his own family; he was plotted against by his own hometown; he was rejected and ridiculed by his religious peers; and he was arrested, beaten and accused of treason.
  4. The sufferings of Paul: He was plotted against; he was stoned and left for dead; he was subjected to satanic pressure, he was beaten and jailed at Philippi; he was ridiculed; he was falsely accused; he endured a number of violent storms at sea; he was bitten by a serpent; and he was forsaken by all.


And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – 1 Peter 5:10.

When we are suffering, we often feel as though our pain will never end. Peter gave these faithful Christians a broader perspective. In comparison with eternity, their suffering would last only ‘a little while’. All of God’s faithful followers are assured of an eternal life with Christ, where there will be no suffering.

Culled from The Open Bible.


1 Jesus, my Saviour, Brother, Friend,

On whom I cast my every care,

On whom for all things I depend,

Inspire, and then accept, my prayer.


2 If I have tasted of Thy grace,

The grace that sure salvation brings,

If with me now Thy Spirit stays,

And hovering hides me in His wings,


3 Still let Him with my weakness stay,

Nor for a moment’s space depart;

Evil and danger turn away,

And keep till He renews my heart.


4 When to the right or left I stray,

His voice behind me may I hear,

“Return, and walk in Christ, thy way;

Fly back to Christ; for sin is near.”


5 His sacred unction from above

Be still my comforter and guide;

Till all the hardness He remove,

And in my loving heart reside. 

6 Jesus, I fain would walk in Thee,

From nature’s every path retreat;

Thou art my Way, my Leader be,

And set upon the rock my feet.

7. Uphold me, Saviour, or I fall;

O reach me out Thy gracious hand!

Only on Thee for help I call,

Only by faith in Thee I stand.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Remain Blessed!

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