Why Do The Righteous Suffer?

I’m offering this reflection as an encouragement to those who are going through much, wondering what else could be worse in life, with all the pressure & worry increasing? Hold on! God’s working on you!

Behind all those shut, closed doors of your life! He has something awesome, awaiting you! (1 Corinthians 2:9). There may be a delay, but the truth is, that the good is yet to come – For we know that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him who are called according to His purpose. “For those whom He foreknew, He predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son.” (Romans 8:28–29)

An adage goes, “No Pain, No Gain”! The world looks at suffering in a manner that is totally different from the Biblical way of looking at it.

Is God causing the suffering in my life?

Theologically, it has to do with the question that believers ask, when they go through suffering — I’m righteous, yet why do I suffer? (Romans 5:9-18) Is God causing the suffering in my life? Doesn’t He see my affliction?

A) David, the man after the God’s own heart says in Psalms 11:5, “the Lord tests the righteous”. So, if David a man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14) had to prove himself, he had to be tested in the furnace of suffering to make him whole again. He no doubt had to face the consequences for his sin, but was also being cleansed of it, until God could call him David the man after my own heart.

B) Job’s suffering: We barely read of Job saying that he was tested by the devil. Job always said, “The hand of the Lord has touched me.” (Job 19:21) “Though He slay me, yet will I trust him.” (Job 13:15) Job even though he was being tested by the devil who was envious of Job worshiping God …. Job had nothing to do with the accuser of brethren – satan.

The Truth is, God never takes delight in our sufferings. All that God created; He saw was good & perfect (Genesis 1:31). He never created a Universe that would have pain, disease, war, famine, death & sin. After Lucifer rebelled against God & invaded this world as the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), along came all that is contradictory to the goodness of God & His Sovereign will (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-15). Tempted by the devil, Adam and Eve sinned.

The ultimate consequences were the separation from God’s presence (but not from his love). These consequences invited all the trouble and suffering. Thus, it is not God who makes us suffer – He does not intentionally and willingly bring suffering as part of his affliction on men (Lamentations 3:33). Rather, he allows suffering, pain, trouble, disaster, calamity, and grief to come into your life for His divine purpose, most of which our minds are too finite to understand (Job 1 and 2).

Some sufferings that come our ways are not as a result of our wrong doings alone. People may experience suffering also as a result of theirs or other people’s actions (mistakes or ignorance or envy). A Child of God once said, “The sincerest followers of Jesus seem to attract the most opposition.” An example is found in the story of Joseph.

His omniscience (All Knowing God) is beyond human understanding. Through sufferings, we learn to become humble, grow stronger & become equipped enough to comfort others in their suffering. God always knows what is best and he never makes a mistake. Thus, when believers suffer, they must stand firm and depend on God.

Ponder over these analogies

Pure Gold depending on the quantity and the desired level of purity, one of the methods of refining gold is the use of high temperature flame, this method considered to be one of the oldest methods of refining metals, when put into the fire.

Carbon + Pressure= Diamond
Oyster + Speck of dust (irritant) = Pearls
Rocks + Erosion= Soil

Man + Suffering = Character formation

Likewise, is the furnace of affliction & suffering in your life. hence, Job said- “When he has tested me, I will come forth as fine Gold (Job 23:10)” The Eagles are known to be the King of the birds. The Scriptures say in
Isaiah 40:31- They that wait upon the Lord shall mount up with wings as eagles. Deuteronomy 32:11 – As an eagle stirred up her nest, flutter over her young, spreads her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings, so the Lord alone did lead.

An Eagle stirs her nest

I’d read an article on how an Eagle stirs her nest.

The Eagle makes her nest’s high up on the cliff of the big mountains. She lays a cozy bed made of feathers & hatches the eggs. The eaglets are fed by their mother. As they grow bigger in size, the nest becomes a smaller place to accommodate them. Eaglets have to be taught, and its mother takes the role. What she does is, she comes down into the nest and surprises her young. One can imagine how warm it must normally be for the little eagles to snuggle under it’s mother, but this time she puts her head up against one of the little ones, and pushes that little one closer and closer to the edge of the nest. (“Hey mom, mom, what are you doing?”)

All at once she pushes the little one out of the nest, and the eaglet falls down the face of the cliff, surely to be destroyed. But not so! In a flash the great mother eagle flies down, catches the little one on her back, and flies up and deposits it in the nest. (“Whew! Mom, that must have been an accident.”) But it wasn’t an accident. The mother bird pushes the little one out again, and again, over and over.

Why would a mother do that to her young? Does she hate the little one? Not at all. It’s just that those little birds were made to fly, and they don’t know it, so she is going to push them out of the nest. She never lets them hit bottom, but she does let them fall, because they have to learn something they don’t know.

The next time the mother bird comes back she decides to clean house, and so she stands on the edge of the nest. The first things to go are the feathers inside; she drops them over the edge. Then the leaves go over the edge. While this is going on, she’s not very talkative, either. (“Mom, what are you doing?”) She pays no attention. Since she built the house, she knows how to take it apart.

Next, she decides to take the sticks out of the middle of the nest, and with her great strong beak and feet, she’s able to break them off and stand them straight up. (“Mom, it’s not comfortable in here anymore.”) Then she takes certain key sticks out of the nest and throws them over the edge. (“What are you doing, Mom? You are wrecking my room.”).

She seemingly pays no attention to the concerns of her young as she prepares to pull the nest apart, for she is determined that those little ones will fly, and she knows something they don’t. She knows they will never fly as long as they remain in the nest. They are so happy having got off the nest, and now enjoying the ride on the mother’s back. The Eaglets are airborne for the first time.

Whilst they are enjoying the ride, sensing how nice it is to glide through the air on the mother’s back, the mother takes a updraft and soars up, up and up until she and the eaglets are several thousand feet above the valley below. “isn’t it fun!” thinks the eaglet.

The Mother says, “it’s time to fly, little Eaglet” she takes a quick dive and they are left back in the air to fly on their own. The mother continues this process till the time her Eaglets become what the good Lord meant them to be- The King of the Bird, soaring high above the clouds, looking Heavenwards.

Character Formation

When we encounter difficulties, say to yourself “there is a light at the end of the tunnel” – good thing are yet to come. More than what meets the eye at the moment, there is some goodness that the Lord intends to accomplish within you which is definitely contradictory to the situation you are in at the moment. When you are under pressure and have reached the dead-end of that cross – road of your life and things seems almost unbearable, you may cry out to God, and it seems like He is afar off (Psalms 10:1). You do all that is needed and still your situation gets worse, the pressure increases and you cry out because you cannot take it anymore, you start doubting the God-given promise!

You might know exactly what I’m talking about!

Like the Eaglets, we respond to God’s call upon our life, as the Disciples of Christ Jesus. A major shift. All’s well until, the training begins, like the Eagle removes all the comfort within her nest, God would shake you out of your comfort zone, Air borne for the first time & you wonder what’s happening! The “Potter’s wheel” is God’s way of moulding you into the person He created you to be – to fly high, above the clouds, tempests and storms of life, aiming at the Sun. Thus, the purposes of our being as a Child of God:

  1. Character Formation (Romans 5:3-5)
  2. To be conformed into Christ Jesus’ image (Romans 8:29-30)

The Scripture says, “John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Maranatha! Come Quickly Lord Jesus.

Dr. Marina Shaji PhD
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