Even though the bible tells us that we should not be surprised when trials and tribulations come upon us, we are still often caught off-guard. Jesus told his disciples in the upper room discourse that in this life we will have troubles, but we don’t like to hear that. That’s understandable. No one likes pain and suffering, and we don’t like to dwell on such things because it’s depressing. Yet the comfort comes when we realize that although Jesus promised that trials and tribulations will come our way, he also told his disciples to “take heart” for he has overcome the world. Whatever burdens we are going through, Jesus promised to be there in the midst of them.
The bible says that Jesus, our great High Priest, is able to sympathize with us because he too has been tempted like us in every way. Jesus knows what it’s like to be human. When he took on a human flesh and nature, God was entering into his creation and identifying himself with us. And if anyone knows the depths of trial and suffering, it’s Jesus, who while on the cross while atoning for the sins of the world, cried out in utter anguish, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” That is why Paul can write that “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Below is a link to the Renewing Your Mind series “Surprised By Suffering.” It’s a six-part lecture series in which Dr. R.C. Sproul discusses such topics as: Suffering, dying in faith, life after death, the resurrection, and heaven. The first lecture is free, but to listen to the whole series, you will have to purchase it ($9.60). You may still be able to catch on the RYM daily broadcast archive as it was aired recently. Either way, please avail yourself of these lectures. I was supremely blessed after listening to them!
In times of suffering the integrity of God’s goodness presses upon our minds. Faith engages in a wrestling match with our emotions and our trust in God.
Should we be surprised by suffering? Could it be that suffering is part of the human condition? A calling ordained by almighty God? In this series, Dr. R.C. Sproul addresses the most difficult struggle in human experience: the problem of pain. He shows us that God is involved in our suffering and reminds us that a time is coming when there will be no more pain, death, or sadness.