Devotional: Purpose in suffering

Published 10:55 am Friday, May 3, 2024

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I humbly want to address just a sliver of a difficult topic today. Pain and suffering. Many people reject God because of the suffering in their lives and in the world. “If God was really all-powerful and loving, then why…fill in the blank.” I don’t have space to discuss all that. Honestly, I’m not the most qualified either. However, as a start, if you’re looking for someone to blame, I refer you to Genesis, chapters 1-3. 

Suffering is a reality we all sometimes face. But there truly is hope and purpose in the midst of struggle. Perspective matters! Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We have the hope and truth that the troubles of this world are temporary. For those in Christ, there is absolutely no suffering in eternity once we’re glorified. Jesus willingly entered into this world and subjected Himself to its struggles and pain. And, not just at His crucifixion. Consider this: Heb. 5:7-9 – During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” He, too, faced struggle in this world. 

Satan’s purpose in our lives is to steal, kill, and destroy. God is too powerful and loving to waste our suffering or to turn a blind eye to it. He ultimately uses it for good, both ours and others. I know a man whose life was transformed for the good through his wife’s dementia. He then served others. 2 Cor. 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” Romans 5:3-5 says, “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” I also encourage you to read 1 Peter 1:6-9, James 1:2-5 and Romans 8:28-30. 

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I’m no stranger to personal pain or that of others. I previously worked in the mental health field. I know this is a deep subject and sometimes words that are meant to help can come across as trite or cliche. For those who are currently hurting, don’t give up! God ultimately will provide complete healing and justice. I’m open to your feedback. 

DAVID EDMONSTON is the pastor of Trinity Church in Prospect. He can be reached at