Pain and Suffering in the World God Controls

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.

  1. 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)
  2. God designs some suffering as his tool to call disobedient children back to himself. (Proverbs 3:12; Hebrews 12:10)
  3. Suffering can be planned by God so that believers grow in trusting him (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-4)
  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)
  5. 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)
  6. 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)