This is a continuation of our series on suffering. The existence of suffering is often times used by Atheists as a reason to reject the existence of God. This series hopes to answer that objection (read more here, here, here, here, here, here). Currently, we are looking at the value of suffering. You can read part 1 and 2 of the value of suffering here and here.
The fifth specific cause for suffering is to test our faith. I Peter states that suffering is an opportunity to show our faith to be genuine. Peter describes it as a fire that allows our faith to be purified (1:7). James tells us that we should “count it all joy” when we face suffering because it is a testing which produces positive results.
The sixth specific cause is our choice to follow Jesus. Harrington devotes a whole chapter to this very subject in his book, Why Do We Suffer?. He shows Paul’s letters, Acts, the books of Hebrews, I Peter, and the Revelation, all address the special suffering facing the community of Christ (124). When one investigates I Peter we realize Christians are called to “do good and suffer” (I Peter 2:20, 21). This fits with the warning of Jesus that His disciples would be hated by the world because He was hated by the world (John 15:18). The Christian will face suffering in this world because our standards are so much different from the world.
The final specific reason for suffering is that suffering can be mysterious. There are times we are unable to discern why we are faced with suffering. Although this is difficult for us because the question of “why?” is so natural, there are reasons we are not always able to understand why something is happening to us (Hick 334).