By Les Henson.
Numerous people reject God because of suffering, either due to severe illness, an accident, or a horrendous event involving themselves or a family member. Many Christian people have little or no concept of suffering, while others reject the idea that God’s people should suffer at all. Yet suffering and pain are part and parcel of what it means to be human in a fallen world. As God’s people, instead of thinking, why am I suffering? Maybe we should ask: Why not me? Why should I escape from suffering when it is merely part of living in this world? Yes! God heals, but God does not always heal! Suffering grants us, the opportunity to live joyfully and to demonstrate what it is to be one of God’s people amid trials and affliction.
Likewise, it enables us to grow in faith, hope and love in ways that may never happen under normal circumstances. James in his letter to God’s people makes a similar point when he writes, “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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).