WHY DO THE RIGHTEOUS SUFFER?
According The Purpose
Undoubtedly there is a day coming when every intricate detail of His fathomless purpose shall be revealed to our wondering eyes. Then and then alone shall we see the reason behind the storms that beset us. Then we shall understand the reason for pain and suffering and see what PURPOSE it had in our molding and making. Then we shall understand the PURPOSE of death and sorrow, and why war darkened our horizons and disappointment deferred our hopes and dashed our ambitions. And though we cannot understand it all now, how it lightens our load and fills our hearts with love and understanding when we know that back of it all is one great revealing truth – GOD'S PURPOSE.
Divine, infinite purpose lies behind all things, and the moment this wonderful truth dawns upon your spiritual understanding, all things begin to make sense and your love for God springs from a new foundation, even the foundation of wisdom and understanding. You may not yet understand the purpose of any of the things that have puzzled you, or the reason for the doubts and fears, the pains and woes that often come upon you, but your heart rejoices that in the process of your making – God is using the proper methods to make you according to His purpose.
Can you not see the tremendous value of the desperate vanity and night of the fall as you read these truths? Can you not see that by the travail, darkness, pain, and temptation of this dismal night of sin, God is building something into the ENTIRE CREATION that will shine and blaze in transcending splendor in the glory of the ages yet unborn? Now listen further while we read the introduction to the above passage. In Romans 8:18, 19 the Apostle Paul says, "For I reckon that the SUFFERINGS OF THIS PRESENT TIME ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED WITH THE GLORY THAT SHALL BE REVEALED, for the earnest expectation of creation waits for the MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD." There is PURPOSE in the suffering of this present time. There is glorious unequaled design, for it is the suffering and night the world is enduring now that will bring forth unequaled and unexcelled glory, even the glory of SONSHIP, maturity in the image of God. There is definite purpose in all suffering. It is producing the very image that God desires. He cannot make the kind of sons He wants without the blazing furnaces of suffering and affliction. Do not forget this truth and do not forget that this kind of fiery trial that is to try you could not have existed without the FALL OF MAN. Oh, how much we miss by believing our stupid traditions which make the fall to be an accident brought about by the cunning of Satan and the inattention of the Lord.
Christians of all ages have diligently enquired, "Why do the righteous suffer?" The answer is very, very simple in the light and understanding of His infinite purpose. Few subjects in scripture receive more attention than suffering and affliction, and the Holy Spirit has constantly pointed out that suffering and affliction which come as a result of the FALL OF MAN are for our eternal benefit in bringing us to perfection and sonship. They serve as instruments to mature us. Even of the blessed Christ Himself it is clearly stated, "Though HE WERE A SON YET LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE THROUGH THE THINGS HE SUFFERED, and BEING MADE PERFECT He became the AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION." Heb. 5:8. Listen to James as he exhorts us. "Take, my brethren, the prophets as an example of SUFFERING AFFLICTION, and of PATIENCE. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the END OF THE LORD; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy." James 5:10-11. Listen to Peter as he declares, "For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, ARM YOURSELVES with the same mind:
"For he that hath SUFFERED IN THE FLESH hath CEASED FROM SIN, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the WILL OF GOD." 1 Pet. 4:1, 2. And again, "But the God of all grace, who hath CALLED US UNTO ETERNAL GLORY by Jesus Christ, AFTER YOU HAVE SUFFERED A WHILE make you PERFECT, ESTABLISH, STRENGTHEN and settle you." 1 Pet. 5:10. Listen to Paul again, as he declares, "For our light affliction which is but for a moment is WORKING IN US A FAR MORE EXCEEDING AND ETERNAL WEIGHT OF GLORY." 2 Cor. 4:17.
I cannot go on with the scriptures that show the vast benefits derived from suffering, affliction, sorrow, heartache, pain, deferred hopes, loss, disappointment, and the thousand other things men endure. You may study them all for yourselves. Let me assure you, however, of this: the anguish and sorrow of all these things are the furnace that refines the gold and brings us to MATURITY AND THE IMAGE OF THE LORD. When God proclaimed, "LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE AND AFTER OUR LIKENESS," little did any creature know the eternal methods and fires He would use to perfect that image beyond the power of destruction. None of these things could have been accomplished without the FALL OF MAN, for without the FALL none of them would have existed at all.
When we realize that...being wise through knowledge and experience and not innocence, we would know both good and evil and could choose the good and refuse the evil. Never again will sin darken the universe, for a race of SONS OF GOD who have been redeemed and cleansed from sin shall reign in eternal righteousness."
Therewith, it is essential for us to harbor this one assuring thought in our minds – WE ARE NOT OUR OWN. We were bought with a price, the price of Christ's own blood. We are a priceless possession, purchased by His life. He will not allow us to go unrefined. We are His prized workmanship with which He takes great care and pride. Not only does the cool breezes of life that He blows upon us help to form what we shall be, but each blaze of tormenting pain as well. They also serve to bring us to a very real, eternal weight of glory, a glory which will be revealed in His appointed season. It is then, as His full-grown sons, that we will sit and reign with Him in that refined glory. It is then that by His life we will bind up the broken hearted and bring peace to this hurting world.
No, my brethren, we will not spared the fiery trials and horrid afflictions. We are not destined to remain immature children playing forever around His throne. His love for us is too great to leave us in such imperfection. His love goes deep, as deep as the spear that pieced His heart that fateful day of Redemption . He sealed throughout all eternity that day, and to every soul, the depth of His love for each of us. To believe that our Lord Jesus would let the hardships of life ravish our lives without merit, and for them to go unbalanced with the reward of unmeasured joy and happiness, is unthinkable. He simply will not permit it!
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Elwin & Margit
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Alamogordo, NM 88311-4004