Gospel Focus

Does God have a purpose for someone's suffering?

Our seventh reason for not doing prayers for healing in evangelism is that it misunderstands "the purpose of suffering":

Some say that all suffering is bad and God never wants anyone to suffer in this life. While it is true that suffering is a result of the fall, God is the one who causes or permits all suffering. And God uses suffering for his good purposes, such as to humble us, to use us, to sanctify us, and to grow us.

It’s true, there is nothing wrong with a Christian praying that some suffering would be removed from his or another person’s life. But it’s good to be aware that the answer God could give is “No” or “Not yet”, and that the suffering could be a blessing from God.

And for an unbeliever, the suffering he is currently facing could be the very thing that God is using to humble him so that he would be open to thinking about eternal matters and so believe and be saved.

Therefore, don’t view present temporal suffering in the unbeliever’s life as the big enemy that needs to be fixed. Eternal suffering is the thing that needs to be most addressed. As once he becomes a Christian, instead of there being less suffering, it’s most likely there will be more - with the added persecution and trials. 

This side of glory we suffer. It’s in glory when we will no longer suffer - when every tear will be wiped away. So let’s focus on preventing people’s eternal suffering first and foremost by preaching the gospel, as it’s the only suffering that will actually last.