Suffering is a reality in a sinful, fallen world.
John’s ninth chapter tells the story of a blind man’s interaction with Jesus. “As he was passing by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned...’ ” (John 9:1–3). The disciples believed that the man’s blindness had resulted from a specific and spectacular sin. “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” Jesus answered, “Neither.”Suffering is a reality in a sinful, fallen world.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus closed the section we call the Beatitudes with these words: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10–12).
On the night before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:32–33).
Jesus taught us that suffering is common to every person. “You will have suffering in this world.”
As the Apostle Paul penned his last letter, he reminded Timothy of the “persecutions and sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured—and yet the Lord rescued me from them all.” Paul continued by promising, “In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:11–12). Be prepared. Trials, tribulations, and troubles are coming.
Peter wrote two epistles, each addressed to people that were suffering under Roman imperialism. Peter comforted his audience, recognizing that they “suffer grief in various trials” (1 Peter 1:6). “Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you, as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12–13) “Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world” (1 Peter 5:8–9).
James also acknowledged suffering as a common ailment. “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2–3). Note that James wrote “when you suffer” not “if you suffer.”
Trials, tribulation and troubles are a reality is a sinful and fallen world.
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.