How are we to tell the difference between pain and suffering and suffering for Christ, how can we know if the troubles that we are experiencing are gifts from God or products of our own design? I believe that too many Christians may be blaming our Lord for problems in their lives that they themselves have brought to bear, that they are the reason for what they are experiencing. Our Lord loves us enough to not only send suffering to us, but also allows us to make unwise decisions and in both cases the end result is to be the same, so that we will learn to trust and lean on Him no matter the circumstances.
If you have been unwise with your finances and now find yourself in debt well beyond your means to repay it in the forceable future, that is your fault, not Gods. “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender” (Prov. 22:7) is not the only verse in the Scriptures that speaks of the proper use of our finances, your inability to be patient until you have the funds to purchase these things you want cannot be blamed on the Lord, you are suffering in this area because of your desires not to follow the Biblical principles in the Scriptures. I speak here of the misappropriation of personal funds for the desires of the flesh, not of extreme medical bills and the like, for that type of debt load, whether we want to see it that way or not, is a gift from God, in a sense a reminder of the debt we could not pay that He paid for us on the cross. In this case you are to rely on what you are given daily, as we all should, and live in the knowledge of His mercy and grace towards you.
The suffering that you may experience in your childhood, beatings, both physical and mental abuse, and abandonment are never asked for by a child, and because for at least a time children are innocent, we see these as the most disastrous, and in every case they are unwarranted. The pain that many of these young one’s experience is carried over into their adult life with them, but it need not be so for the one who was once one of these but now knows Christ as Savior. To release the burdens and scars of the mind into His caring hands is not to forget them, it is to forgive the ones that inflicted that pain and suffering upon them.
Read again the accounts of the false witnesses brought against our Lord at the mock trials before His death (Matt. 26:60-61), see how He opened not His mouth against these accusers knowing full well the truth behind all the lies spoken of Him (Isaiah 53:7). He could have spoken a single word as He did in the garden that night when He said “I am,” and not only would all have fallen, but by only words all who surrounded Him at those trials lives could have been ended by Him just as easily. You have this same type of power within you, the Holy Spirit of God Himself, He gives us the power to forgive, you will likely never forget, but you can choose to see the past differently, with thanksgiving that He blessed you to go through this suffering so that you now can help those who have or still are in this type of trial. If not, then the suffering, the burdens of the past that you are still carrying will most likely be with you for the rest of your life, and though the reason behind it will never be your fault, the continuing in it will be, for you will have been shown and assured that there is a way out of it.
Forgiving those who harmed you is just the first step, if you are not actively seeking those who are still in this type of bondage to show them the way out of it along with the forgiveness that they too can receive, then you have truly not learned the reason for it in the first place.
Far too many blame God for the trials and problems in their lives when in fact they have come about because of our own actions or inactions. They believe that our Lord is trying to teach them something in these troubles when in fact they refused to listen to Him when they first started on the path of bringing these issues into their lives. Our Lord does not jump right up and yell “Stop,” He allows us to make mistakes, and then waits for us to call on Him to get us out of the mess we put ourselves into. “Don’t eat this fruit or you will die.” I can’t seem to find the Scripture verse where He ran up and grabbed the fruit out of Adams hand. How many times in the Book of Judges alone can you count the words “and the people did evil in the sight of the Lord.”
Admit it, we are mistake makers, we don’t look for the traps of Satan and the desires of our own lust to walk around them, we search them out to jump into them, feet first. Then we turn around, look up and blame God for not stopping us from making fools of ourselves again. When Christ sends suffering to us for His Glory you will know it my friends, you will be able to look back and not see one single thing that you did to draw it to yourself.
You cannot make yourself believe if you have smoked cigarettes your whole life that the cancer you now have was sent by God as a trial, you brought that one on all by yourself. But if all of the people who once called you a friend before Christ now won’t have anything to do with you because you can’t stop talking about your Lord, there is suffering that you can rejoice in. And by the way, if you are allowed by Him to experience cancer, you can rejoice in that also, I know this personally.
If you are the one driving the car when it breaks down, it’s your fault, it does not matter if twenty other people were using that same vehicle that day, it will be your fault because we all need someone to blame. Far too few have learned that one of the best ways we can learn anything is by our mistakes, knowing what works is not enough, we must also know what does not work before we can say with confidence that we are learned, or wise if you like, in any area. We must be able to tell when the suffering, the troubles and problems in our lives are of our own making and when they have been sent by our Lord.
We have been blessed with free will, the ability to choose our own direction in almost every avenue of our lives. Even those with physical attributes that will not allow their bodies to do as they wish, those in prison, or other bonds still have the ability within themselves to think as they please, our thoughts are always under our own direct control. No one can modify either your way of thinking or your emotional state unless you allow it first. We must do all that we can to think and pray before we act, if we do not, I can pretty much guarantee you that the majority of your troubles and suffering will come from only one place, you.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19) We are told, in fact commanded to rejoice in suffering (1 Peter 4:13) but it doesn’t make any sense at all to rejoice in the problems that we have brought on ourselves when we shouldn’t of even started on that path in the first place. Have you ever wondered why we are called the children of God and not the adults of God? As small human children do, we will make mistakes, but more than just as the adults who are still lost do, we are to learn from them so that none are given an opportunity to blaspheme the name of our Lord, because of our stupid actions.
David and Bathsheba’s child didn’t die because of the adultery or the killing of Uriah (2 Sam. 12:9), the child died because David had given the heathen an opportunity to blasphemy the name of God (2 Sam. 12:14). This is serious stuff my friends. As my dad use to say, “You stepped in it, you clean it off your boots.” My Father in Heaven is not like that, He gives me a new pair of boots every time, throws the old, filthy ones away and forgives me, all I have to do is ask. But He doesn’t rush down to stop me from stepping in something else, it’s my responsibility to watch where I’m going.