The title above was a very thought provoking question asked during a bible study call. It’s something I’ve also questioned in the past, yet did not bother to dig much deeper into. This query led to a series of theological thoughts rushing through my mind, yet everything seemed to revolve around ONE major question. ‘Why do Christians experience suffering?’.
Not only do pregnant Christian women experience labour pain, but Christians experience cancer, dementia, premature death, mood swings, miscarriages etc. Being saved doesn’t provide one with a ticket which exempts them experiencing suffering! As long as we live in this fallen world corrupted by sin, we are bound to encounter challenges.
Upon my visit to South Africa I discovered that citizens had certain privileges which were unavailable for non citizens, such as discounts when visiting certain attractions. (Side note: I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Robben Island it was AMAZING). Now, a South African living within the diaspora maybe able to speak Zulu, Xhosa, or Afrikaans (or other native languages), and may have access to South African foods, BUT there are certain things they will not have access to unless they’re IN THEIR HOME country (South Africa). This concept can be used to help understand the gift of salvation. Until God calls us home, or returns, we cannot experience the work of God in it’s FULL entirety/glory whilst on earth in our human bodies. Yes Christ has broken the curse of sin so we no longer have to face eternal damnation, but because we live in a fallen world infiltrated with evil, we experience the consequences/effects of sin.
What a believer IS promised and can enjoy whilst on earth in human flesh.
⁃ Forgiveness of sin: 1John 1:9 ~ “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” Ephesians 1:7 ~ “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.”
⁃ The promise of eternal life: John 3:16 ~ “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
⁃ Peace: John 14:27 ~ I am leaving you with a gift peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
⁃ Unfailing love: Romans 8:34-39 ~ “Who then will condemn us? No one for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
⁃ Joy: 1 Peter 1:8-9 ~ “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” Romans 15:13 ~ “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
⁃ A rich relationship with God: Proverbs 23:26 ~ “O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways.” Luke 12:21 ~ “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
What we can look forward to when Christ returns or calls us home!
⁃ Unbroken fellowship and no more suffering: Revelations 21:1-4 ~ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
⁃ Rewards: Luke 12:33 ~ “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.” Matthew 5:11-12 ~ “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”
I believe that there is so much more for us to look forward to in heaven and on earth which I haven’t managed to list, but my main points are that it is not abnormal for a Christian to encounter pain, and that God’s love for us is SO great, as it transcends physical death! You’re loved by God!
I look forward to being in the presence of the God in paradise, in a place where there will be no more tears, pain, and sorrow. Have a blessed day, run your race well, don’t lose focus on the prize, and cling tightly to God, and His word!
Christian Lady After God’s Own Heart