11 May Q & A on Blessing of Suffering
Q: Some Christians teach that there is no suffering to those who accept Christ as their personal Saviour. If it is true can we conclude that those who have sufferings are non-believers and those do not suffer are believers?
A: Yours is a valid question and very timely. If we can conclude that way, we do not have to preach the Gospel because it has no value for mankind.
The Lord Jesus himself has told us that there will be sufferings to those who follow Him (Jn. 16:33). We study the history of Abraham, Joseph, Job, David, Daniel, and Paul in the Scriptures, who underwent suffering. Do we say that these are not men of God? Can we conclude that they are non-believers? I know there are some who say that too. They quote the example of Job; they attribute his sufferings to his sin. Job was accused by his friends of sins.
It is natural for common men to ascribe sufferings to sin. But it is unfortunate to conclude that Job was a sinner. We need to look at the testimony of God about Job: blameless and upright (Job 1:1, 8), Job did not sin (1:22); How can anyone conclude that Job was a non-believer? Job 1: 6-12 gives us the purpose of God allowing suffering in his life. God allowed Satan to take away his prosperity to show him that Job was righteous at all time; in wealth and in poverty. If material prosperity (wealth) is the only sign of salvation, will poor people lose eternity?
“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Dt. 8:18). “Wealth” is used in this context to represent all evidences of prosperity and well-being. We tend to think of wealth in terms of material things like the size and location of our house, the cost of our automobile, or the fashions in our clothing. However, there is more to prosperity than material goods. Wealth also includes qualities like physical well-being, sound mindedness, and the level of our education, and opportunities to perceive what is happening in this world from a godly point of view. In other words, wealth in OT understanding is not limited to material things.