More than pain, suffering is foremost a problem of meaning. We say that because the initial question of a sufferer is always, “Why?”
Scripture has debunked the false thought that good people aren’t supposed to experience bad things. For one, categorically speaking, there is no one who is good. And then we go to Job who was upright in the eyes of God and yet was in the very eye of all the storms this world can offer. From there we conclude that bad things can happen to godly people. Suffering is no respecter of men. As my wife puts it, “suffering is an equalizer.”
So what then is the meaning of suffering?
In this side of eternity, we will never exhaust a substantial answer to our quest for the meaning of suffering. Job had several counsels during his times of hardships. Yet at the end of it all, he realized that what carried him through was the very counsel of God in the midst of suffering. When the curtains were lifted, he had a more profound relationship with God than ever before. From there we can say that suffering is actually a pilgrimage into a deeper faith in God.
Sometimes the breadth of our suffering results to a renewed depth in our communion.
Beloved, if you are suffering today, I pray that it thrusts you straight to the heart of God.
“The center of God’s will may take us into the eye of a storm. We should not seek, therefore, to confirm God’s will by the absence of adversity.” Allistair Begg