I think we all realize that suffering is part of life. Everyone in the world has suffered in some way, because all people have been born under the curse of sin since the events described in Genesis 3, and sin brings suffering and death (Romans 3:9, 3:23, 5:12). Many people, when seeing or experiencing great suffering, have asked, “Why?” Is there a greater purpose in suffering?
For believers, suffering is not pointless, and should not lead to despair. God has promised His presence (John 14:17-18), His peace (John 14:27), and His purpose (Romans 8:28). Furthermore, God can use suffering to discipline us, so that we grow more righteous (Hebrews 12:11). In fact, this discipline is actually evidence of God’s love and acceptance of us as His children; therefore we should not resist it (Hebrews 12:5-7). We must also remember that, along with His perfect attributes of love, mercy, and truth, “our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29)
Four reasons for suffering are discussed in the Bible Helps article “The Purpose of Suffering.” One of these reasons is that God uses suffering to chastise or discipline His children. This is the subject of the new article by Paul Shirk, “The Refiner’s Fire.” In this article, Paul expounds on the truths found in Malachi 3:1-3.
It is our purpose and prayer here at Bible Helps that you would seek God, saying with the Apostle Paul, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.” (See Philippians 3:8-14.)