Sometimes the cause of our suffering is consequences of actions by others or us. Just think about how much suffering was caused by Hitler, or Nero, or Voldemort. Yes, all suffering is ultimately consequences of sin, the fall of mankind in the garden – but there are specific cases where God allows you to go through a certain type of suffering. Just look at this passage in John 9
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.
So first we can see that suffering isn’t a one to one correlation. It’s not like if you commit a sin that’s worth 10 points, then you get 10 points of suffering. Next we see is that even though God isn’t the source of suffering, he can still use it for his glory – first in the suffering of Christ, but also on our own lives.
It’s not like God said, “Oh well, there’s sin in the world which causes suffering, I guess I’ll just wait for all the Christians to die after a lifetime of suffering before they can experience any peace.” No, God can turn around that suffering and have the works of God displayed in you right now. But before you think that the only way God’s work can be displayed is the removal of suffering then we need to read the whole passage. The passage goes on…
38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
The root problem wasn’t this man’s physical blindness, it was his spiritual blindness. God used a physical event to heal him of his spiritual blindness.
What are your hardships and sufferings? Migraines, tough job situation, evil wizard without a nose trying to kill you? What is God trying to do in your life through your suffering so that “the works of God might be displayed” in you? Will it be that non-Christians will see how you deal with your suffering while others in your same position are falling apart – then ask you how you can still have peace? Will it be that you can be an inspiration to others?
So what do we do?
If we are trying to figure out how “the works of God might be displayed in” you, we must: 1. Identify our hardships that others see 2. Deal with our own spiritual shortcomings so that we will publicly display the fruit of the spirit (specifically peace) and give glory to God in our lives. It’s not a show, but a reflection of what’s going on inside – because spiritual healing is the work of God that must be displayed.
John 9 35 Jesus heard that [the Pharisees] had cast [the blind man] out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”[c] 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt;[d] but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.
Take Time To Pray: Ask God to help you to address your spiritual needs to that you can display his work in your life. Today’s Fruit of the Spirit: Peace. The peace that comes when you know the all-powerful God with his all-powerful love truly wants to work in your life so that you be a light to others.