Why Do Christians Suffer?


Many of our brothers and sisters in India are facing persecution at the hands of those who believe following Christ is a political statement that is an affront to the Hinduism of their nation. Our partners haven’t faced bodily harm, but they have felt the climate of their nation cool towards Christianity. Why does God allow His children to suffer, sometimes starvation and sickness, or other times, persecution? The Bible reveals at least three reasons why God’s children suffer.

ONE: SATAN – Those who haven’t yet given their hearts to Christ tend to blame God for all the bad stuff in the world. How often have you heard, “If God is a loving God, then why does He allow bad things to happen to good people?” It seems logical to assume that if God is supreme, good, and loving, He should be able to stop whatever bad event from happening. That might be true, if it were not for the presence of the devil. 

I don’t know how much power the devil has, but in the life of Job, the devil brought mercenaries into Job’s life who stole his herds and murdered his workers. The devil also produced a tornado that killed Job’s children, as well as he caused the disease that ravaged Job’s body. 

Because Adam and Eve sinned against God, the devil became the “ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Ephesians 2:1–2). The Bible also calls him the “god of this world” – “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:3–4)  

God is supreme. He has a leash on the devil, but it’s not clear to me how long that leash is. So, to some degree, bad things and suffering are to be blamed on the devil.

TWO. WITNESS – When Christians suffer, it develops in us a compassion and empathy for the pain and disappointments of others. It also is an opportunity for us to demonstrate to the lost around us that Jesus gives us a peace that is beyond understanding. If we complain as much or more than the non-Christian, we forfeit both our peace and our witness. 

In spite of the pressures, our partners are trusting the Lord and experiencing His peace. Jesus promised, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)  

THREE. HEAVEN – Our partners are ready to face death. I doubt they want to hurry the process, but they know where they’re going. Because they have trusted Christ’s sacrifice as payment for their sins, when that day comes, they will immediately enter Heaven. 

Even though Christ-followers may experience suffering, when this life is over, we have Heaven to look forward to. The non-Christian pagans are not yet ready to face death. I believe God is giving some of these persecutors (as He did for Saul on the road to Damascus) time to finally accept Jesus as their Savior. “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)  

Suffering still isn’t fun, but Christ-followers can find purpose in it. 

Marlon Furtado

Posted in