A purpose for suffering

So many times when we are suffering we look for a reason why, as if knowing why will lessen the burden, somehow. Many times, there is no reason. Babies get cancer, people in their prime drop dead…with no reason except for life being hard and unfair. But in Exodus 20:20 we are given a purpose for (some) suffering: “God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will keep you from sinning.” As I look back over my trials in life, during the worst suffering was the worst temptation. The devil is like that. He waits until we are down to nothing, in the lowest pit, then attacks. He is ruthless. But what if it’s actually reversed? This verse indicates that SUFFERING could be sent to SAVE US from SINNING. And isn’t that what we do when we suffer? Look up, to the One who can rescue us? What if, in God’s loving grace, He can forsee the temptations coming and purposefully sends suffering to turn our necks toward Him – to protect us and redirect us and, ultimately, SAVE us? There are so many mysteries about God’s ways I do not understand, but here it is clear: God will stop at nothing to protect his children. He is such a good, good Father! Praise God for a God who is willing to go in the trenches with us and do the hard stuff to keep us in line!

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