The Goodness of God in Suffering

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The psalmist boasts confidence in seeing the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living; that is, in the here and now. (Psalm 27:13) But one glance around assaults our sensitivities with evil and suffering. Where the goodness? Yet perhaps we glimpse the goodness of God in suffering as nowhere else.

Suffering never exceeds the limitations God places upon it.

Though often I lament God’s choice of boundary lines, He knows my limitations and needs, governing my suffering, while meeting me in the midst.

Serving His sovereign will for my life, suffering accomplishes His purposes while revealing His ultimate goodness.

the goodness of god in his love

At times, real suffering isolates us, causing feelings of abandonment. Often the first thoughts swirling in my mind center on wondering where God is in the situation.

Though my mind knows the promise of his Presence, (Deuteronomy 31:8), my heart fails in seeing the goodness of God in suffering because it feels distanced from the goodness of His love.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

woman with dark hair pulled up, winter sweater, cup of tea looking out window

Romans 8:38-39

But the fullness of His nature is goodness and unfailing love which no suffering can quench nor divide asunder.

Resting in the unfailing foundation of His love positions me to trust Him in trial.

the goodness of god in suffering

Remembering in whatever place of suffering we travel; God draws a line our suffering simply cannot cross, brings a measure of comfort. Though many times I desired the line be drawn in another place, God’s goodness knows my needs exactly and meets me there.

A huge part of holding onto Hope in suffering, rests in our trusting God’s sovereign hand.

And a big part of trusting His sovereign hand lay in knowing His Word. During a recent struggle, the Holy Spirit led me to 2 Corinthians 4:8-15.

Four Things Suffering Cannot Do

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Verses eight and nine fortify our hearts with four things suffering cannot do:

  1. Though pressed and troubled on every side, suffering cannot crush you.
  2. Though confused or perplexed, suffering cannot push you into despair.
  3. Though persecuted, suffering cannot cause God to abandon you.
  4. Though brought low or knocked down, suffering cannot destroy you.
sunrise through snow covered pines

God’s goodness in our suffering shines forth as these four things remind us suffering only accomplishes God’s will, in God’s way, for the length of time God allows.

Suffering Reflects Christ to Others

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.  So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

Verses ten through twelve shifts our perspective from one of our own singular sufferings to one which sees Christ reflected to others through our suffering.

God’s goodness in our suffering uses what seems purposeless, for a testimony of the redemptive power of suffering, through Christ.

Suffering Glorifies God

“It is written: I believed; therefore I have spoken. Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”

dew covered purple aster facing the sun

Verses thirteen through fifteen reveal every death-like trial is only a prelude to an exhibition of resurrection power. Therefore, instead of despair, thanksgiving for the goodness of God extols His ultimate glory.

the goodness of god

Truly observing God’s goodness in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13) means we must choose seeing His goodness in our suffering.

Trusting God’s sovereign boundaries conforming suffering to His good purpose, we rest knowing suffering will never crush us, push us to despair, cause God to abandon us, or destroy us.

Instead, God’s goodness transforms our suffering into a testimony of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, not only for our benefit, but for His grace to abound to others.

Ultimately, as we see the goodness of God in our suffering, thanksgiving overflows to the glory of God.

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