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“Why do the righteous suffer?” This existential question is as old as time, and there is only one place where you can find answers, the Bible. It is not necessary to have a deeper understanding of the Holy Scriptures in order to comprehend why sinners encounter malevolence and anguish; their pain is the result of their sins and their separation from GOD, that means from Love. But why then do believers and the righteous suffer?
Faith in GOD teaches that for the righteous, suffering is temporary, while Love endures forever. The CREATOR allows suffering (as in the case of Job in the Bible) only because of a greater ending, and that it is often very difficult to comprehend even after a long time. Surviving by searching for a meaning in suffering, is a very difficult task to face, but as walking an uphill road that shows off all the skills and strengthens the legs of the one who walks, also at the root of affliction for the believer there is a great possibility of growth and evolution for the sake of one’s own good.
4 Accept whatever is brought upon you, and in changes that humble you be patient. 5 For gold is tested in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of affliction.
(Sirach 2, 4-5)
Another interpretation of why a FATHER, who is capable and able to control everything, can allow affliction in his children is to increase empathy within his people. Many believers suffer in such a way that they can have communion with others who are in sorrow. Only those who have known pain and suffering can have the ability to identify with the state of mind of those who are afflicted. The Word of GOD teaches that the right people during suffering can understand how to better glorify GOD in their lives, sadness digs into the Soul of the believer simply to generate the necessary space that will allow happiness to sprout. GOD teaches them lessons through that suffering which naturally generates meditation, and while it evolves into prayer, two fundamental spiritual faculties grow in the Spirit of the believer.
Moreover, by capturing teachings from the Book of Job people understand that the believer is often unable to determine for himself the measure of what is right or wrong, this is an exclusive task of GOD, only the Creator of all reality can do this. We must therefore examine the matter in our minds and hearts, whether we like it or not, whatever GOD does is, by definition, right and best for us. GOD is the FATHER, and a father cannot be complacent about the pain a child receives. Everything, even the most painful thing, happens for the ultimate good of the believer, and always (if one maintains the patience and humility of Soul) one will come to understand the good that is behind even the most difficult situations and misfortunes.
Once faith has been consolidated, one will be free to seek ways to benefit spiritually from the sufferings of life as well as from the joys.
6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
(Second Letter to Corinthians Chapter 1, 6-7)
Everyone goes through trials and difficulties in life, and many wonder why, perhaps because of some sin committed, or because God is angry with them for some reason. Others even wonder if GOD has abandoned or forgotten His People, but from a theological point of view, we know that the LORD has promised never to abandon the believer (Is 41, 10 ; Ez 33, 11 ; Ps 94, 18-19), and even when sins are committed several times, He still deals with them as children.
Some people instead argue that GOD would be too good to allow the righteous to suffer without a just cause, believing that the faithful suffer only if they commit sin or somehow “open the doors to evil”. But the Bible is also clear on this: even the righteous suffer, and the example above all of this suffering is in Jesus (1 Peter 2, 20-23).
However, it is also true that many people suffer because of personal mistakes, so the discernment of the believer (choosing meticulously between two paths) also in this case becomes a fundamental precept of faith and perfection. The Bible clearly examines this possibility, Job was just and a righteous man who did not suffer because of his direct fault, but only because of the intervention of the Opponent (“sâtan” in Hebrew: שָּׂטָן means “adversary”). The book of Job is the only one in the Bible in which the CREATOR meets and dialogues with Santana, evil wanted to show GOD the weakness of His servant by making him deny his faith. GOD allows him to put him through a test (and what kind of test, probably the most difficult one reported in all the Holy Scriptures) thus allowing him to show the evil how much strength there was in Job and how solid his conduct was.
Gold is purified through the fire
Furthermore, it also has to be considered that although GOD is concerned about the earthly well-being of men and women, He is more concerned about the well-being of all Creation, the eternal state of balance. His greatest act of love was to offer salvation to men and women, and therefore this does not necessarily mean health, wealth, or honor (which, however, can also be considered goods bestowed by GOD). In the Christian sphere this would explain why He allowed the apostles and early Christians to be martyred and suffer such persecutions and losses. From an earthly perspective, it would seem that GOD has abandoned them, but from an eternal point of view, they have been saved, and this is certainly a much better position than an ephemeral one (Psalm 37, 11). GOD has a very different perspective of this life than ours, much of what we call suffering is not the same in GOD’s Eyes.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,so are my ways higher than your waysand my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55, 8-9)
The Bible states that Job was righteous and complete in his Faith, yet he was not perfect in the way of being without sin before GOD, but rather of impeccable conduct before men. GOD, through suffering, exposed Job to an increase in pride and self-sufficiency that were hidden in his heart (Job 42, 3-6). Although this was not the direct cause of Job’s misery, GOD used his difficulties to make him a better person and richer in blessings (Job 42, 10,12), a circumstance that is also found in the New Testament: using “fiery” trials to purify believers (James 1, 2-4 ; 1 Peter 1, 6,7).
The Earth is currently still under GOD’s curse (Genesis 3, 17) because of the rebellion of Adam and Eve, the man and woman who went against the Law of the CREATOR.
This “slavery of corruption”, which causes “all creation groans and is in labor” (Romans 8, 21-22), is universal, and touches everyone: men, women and children, of every Nation and race. GOD did not create the World like this, and the Promise is that someday he will put everything back (Messianic Era). On that day GOD “will wipe away every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death, no grief, no cry, no pain, because the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21, 4).
However, before the coming of this promised Age, the LORD sometimes grants us an advance of this final redemption, fulfilling the prayers of believers and freeing them from pain, sickness and all other sufferings.
“Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the Earth do right?”
(Genesis 18, 25)
“Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?”
(Romans 9, 20)
The beautiful tale of a converted blacksmith
It tells of a blacksmith who, after a youth full of vices, decided to make a change to his useless existence: GOD became the only point of reference in his life.
For many years he worked with honesty, fairness, practiced the good and the sense of duty, however, despite all this dedication, it seemed that nothing was going well in his life, conversery, his problems and his debts grew day by day.
A beautiful evening, a friend who had come to see him, and who felt compassion for his difficult situation, told him: “It’s really a very strange thing that, after having decided to change your life and become a man fearful of GOD your life has begun to worsen, I do not want to diminish your hope, but in spite of your faith in GOD, you have not improved your life in nothing “.
The smith did not answer right away, he had thought about these things several times, without understanding what was going on in his life, however, since he wanted to give an answer to his friend, he began to speak, and ended up finding the explanation he was looking for.
Here is what the blacksmith said: “In this workshop I receive the iron before being worked and I have to turn it into swords.
Do you know how to make swords?
First the iron is heated to an infernal calorie until it becomes a bright red, immediately after, without any mercy, I take the heaviest bat I have and I start hammering it several times until the piece takes the desired shape immediately after I immerse it inside a bucket full of cold water, and the whole workshop is filled with noise and steam, because the hot piece immersed in cold water crackles because of the violent change in temperature.
And I have to repeat this operation several times if I want to get a perfect sword, once it’s not enough! “
The blacksmith paused for a long time and then went on: “Sometimes the iron I have in my hands can not stand this treatment: the heat, the hammering and the cold water fill it with cracks, and it is at this moment that I realize that will never turn into a beautiful sword blade and that’s when I throw it in a mountain of old irons you see at the entrance to my workshop”.
He paused again and the blacksmith finished: “I know that GOD is putting me in the fire of suffering.
I accept the hammering that life gives me, and sometimes I feel so cold and insensitive as the water that makes steel suffer.
However, the only thing I think of is: My GOD, do not stop, as long as I can not take the form you expect from me.
Let me take it the way you think best, use it as long as you like, but please, never throw me into the pile of old irons that are useless!
Related Bible Passages:
Psalm 11(12), 7-8
7 And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.
8 You, LORD, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked
Isaiah 48, 9-11
“For the sake of My Name I delay My wrath, And for My praise I restrain it for you, In order not to cut you off. “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My Name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.
Wisdom 3, 4-7
4 For though in the sight of others they were punished,
their hope is full of immortality. 5 Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because GOD tested them and found them worthy of Himself; 6 like gold in the furnace he tried them, and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them. 7 In the time of their visitation they will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble.
Daniel 11, 35
“Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time.
Psalm 66, 10
For You have tried us, O GOD; You have refined us as silver is refined.