I am currently working through an adapted version of Big Truths for Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God by Bruce Ware with our T&T group in Awana. I found his list of 5 principles for thinking correctly about suffering from a biblical and Christian point of view to be outstanding in its clarity, simplicity, and Biblical fidelity. God used it to stir my heart, I pray he will do the same for you. Here are his 5 principles, along with the sub-points for the second principle.
First, suffering is not, in itself something good that lasts forever. (Revelation 21:3-4)
Second, suffering is often planned and used by God to bring about good.
- Suffering can sometimes be the tool of God’s judgment on those who are opposed to him even bringing them to death if they continue in their sin. (Numbers 16:31-35, 41-50; Isaiah 10:5-19)
- God designs some suffering as his tool to call disobedient children back to himself. (Proverbs 3:12; Hebrews 12:10)
- Suffering can be planned by God so that believers grow in trusting him (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4)
- Suffering can show our human weakness so that the greater strength and glory of God will be seen (2 Corinthians 4:8-12; 12:8-10)
- Suffering can be used by God so that believers will be better able to help others who, in similar ways, experience suffering in their lives (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
- Suffering is a part of being a follower of Jesus being willing to suffer for His sake in faithfulness to Him (John 15:18-20; Philippians 3:10; 2 Timothy 3:12)
Third, God has promised his children that everything in their lives, even suffering, will be used for their good. (Romans 8:28)
Fourth, God is more concerned with our character than with our comfort, with our holiness rather than our happiness. (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5)
Fifth, we should pray for God to remove our suffering while we also pray for God to help us accept our suffering. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)