How Long, O Lord? Suffering, Scripture, and the Grace of God
All of us experience suffering in some way, at some time. For many, life is full of physical pain and deprivation; others experience emotional turmoil; still others suffer the loss of friends and family to sickness and death. Indeed, it is no accident that many Christians throughout history have referred to life as a “vale of tears.” Suffering often raises questions about the sovereignty of God, or the goodness of our Creator. What do those who suffered have to teach us? How does the cross affect our view of suffering? Why does a good, sovereign God allow suffering to come into the lives of His children?
When we turn to the pages of scripture, we see that the Bible is not silent on suffering. Nearly all the great men and women of scripture suffered in profound ways: from the ancient Job to the writer of the Psalms, from the prophet Jeremiah to the apostle Paul. The greatest Man of all, the Lord Jesus Christ, was called by Isaiah the prophet, “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Peter, one of the closest earthly friends of the Lord, wrote to Christians scattered throughout Macedonia in words also meant for us today: “But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”
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