We Suffer As Believers in This Fallen World

June 10, 2023

This month Christian tribals in an area of Asia experienced violence whereby over 100 churches were burned down. At least 80 people were killed, with 200 being injured. At such times, we ask why? While the earthly answer is complicated, the biblical answer is quite simple. We suffer as believers in this fallen world. Children die prematurely from cancer or an accident. Women all over the world still die from childbirth. Scores of Ukrainian soldiers….and Russians ones too…. are dying in battle every single day. Natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, typhoons and yes, even shark or snake bites, kill people all over the world each day. In addition, in the USA, more people die from drug overdoses (110,000 in 2022) than from any other malady or earthly disaster!

Paul said this about suffering: “But we have this treasure (the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ….. from verse 6; essentially the treasure is Christ in us, the hope of glory; OT Jews could never fathom this. In the OT, God’s glory was in the Temple; in the New Covenant, God is in us as His holy Temple) in earthen vessels, that the surrounding greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.”

In this life we encounter many trials and tribulations. Some lead quickly to our physical demise. Others are used by God to make us depend on Christ and His Spirit in such a way whereby God’s light shines through our lives (through our cracked earthen vessels!). When we depend on Christ, His character shines through our Christian walk and it brings refreshing life to those around us.

I must confess, at times my sinful flesh gets in the way and my wife sees my “crankiness” during suffering, not the glory of God! How can we overcome this weakness amidst trials? The key is to have a mental disposition to yield to Him fully and prayerfully, in faith, at the general time suffering emerges. We must take a “time out” to isolate ourselves in prayer over His Word, often a Psalms, whereby we cry out to Him for divine assistance. Otherwise, our day will surely go “downhill” in the slough of despond! Not only will we be miserable, but others around us will be! For most people, it is our natural propensity to be cranky during hardships. Human will must be purposefully bent towards His yielding. Otherwise, it won’t normally (or naturally) occur! One of my daughters has added this on the subject: She says, “Dad, joy must be fought for”! What she means is the Christian life involves a spiritual battle. We don’t arrive at a yielded serene disposition without an active choice “to be as such”.

Let us rise to the occasion, as the end of the age draws near and suffering increases on this earth, let us stand as His light, wherever we find ourselves to be.