Intersections

I Need God in My Suffering

by: 
Joni Eareckson Tada

When we wonder why we must suffer, we’re actually asking questions of someone. That someone is God. But why he created suffering doesn’t really matter. The only thing that matters is how we respond. When we can’t find the answers we’re looking for, we can find peace in the only true answer: We need God! Affliction is the lowest common denominator for all of us. Philippians 1:29 tells us to expect suffering: “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.” But no matter how strong our faith is, it’s natural to ask why.

After many years of suffering, I’ve concluded that God allows one form of evil, suffering, to expose another form of evil, sin. It is as if God turns suffering on its head and helps us to feel the sting of sin when we suffer so that as we are headed for heaven, we’re reminded of how poisonous sin really is. So, suffering is like a sandblasting machine that strips away our fear, anxiety, self-centeredness, complaining, and “I don’t care” attitude toward others who hurt. God allows affliction to rip all of that away so that we can see the world through the eyes of Christ.

God hates evil and suffering. He promises us in his Word to relieve suffering, and he relieves it every day. We can be sure that if our hearts hurt for someone, God felt that pain first. He felt my pain first. Our souls are strengthened through suffering. To know God better, we must know our suffering better. And as we do, we become less me-focused and more God-focused.

Editor’s Note: We’re honored to host this piece by Joni Eareckson Tada which is first published in the Beyond Suffering Bible. Read more about the Beyond Suffering Bible at the publisher’s website, http://www.beyondsufferingbible.com/, or at Joni and Friends website, where it can also be purchased, http://www.joniandfriends.org/bible/.

Quotations in this paragraph are from the two web sites listed. The piece is reproduced with permission of the publisher. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. Features and Bible helps copyright © 2016 by Joni & Friends. All rights reserved.

Joni Eareckson Tada

Joni Eareckson Tada

Joni Eareckson Tada, the founder and Chief Executive of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, is an international advocate for people with disabilities. She founded Joni and Friends in 1979 to provide Christ-centered programs to special-needs families, as well as training to churches. Joni and Friends serves thousands of special-needs families through Family Retreat, and has delivered over 100,000 wheelchairs and Bibles to needy disabled persons in developing nations. Joni’s lifelong passion is to bring the Gospel to the world’s one billion people with disabilities. She and her husband Ken were married in 1982 and reside in Calabasas, California. You can learn more about Joni’s ministry at www.joniandfriends.org.