Ever thought to yourself that the reason for your present suffering was the consequence of some sin you committed? These thoughts linger even though you have confessed every known or unknown sin, and worse still, the suffering continues. Perhaps it was someone else you observed to be in great difficulty and you were almost convinced they had done something wrong that brought the hardship they were experiencing. The assumption that suffering is the consequence of sin isn’t new to us. Job suffered the same assumptions from his friends when he was going through the darkest time of his life. He had lost everything and his friends could not come to terms with how a good God would allow such except for sin in Job’s life.
Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off? (Job 4:7). Does God subvert judgment? Or does the Almighty pervert justice? If your sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression (Job 8:3-4).
Repeatedly, they try to convince Job that his predicament was the result of sin. It is indeed noteworthy to state at this point that sin does bring hardship and difficulties, however, it is not the only predisposing factor to experiencing them.The disciples of Jesus thought the same way too. In John chapter nine, they come across a man blind from birth and conclude he or his parents had to have sinned for him to be born blind, but Jesus corrects their wrong impression, His reply to them was, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened that the works of God would be displayed in him.”
Why then do we go through tough times? Of what use is the experience of suffering in the life of a believer who is steadfast in the faith? Jesus in John 13: 33 explains to us that if we are in this world (a fallen world), we will have sorrows, but the good news is that in Him we will have peace as we go through them. Paul expands on this when he tells us that our troubles bring about perseverance and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope (Romans 5:3-4). Hard times come to make us strong, or like Job, test our loyalty to the God we profess we love. Remember that the devil challenged Job’s faithfulness insisting Job was faithful because of the good things God had bestowed him with. To prove the devil wrong, God allowed him to inflict Job with the many tragedies he suffered. We can never truly know what we stand for until it is tested and most times, the test will come in the form of some painful experience.
What to do when going through hard times
So how are we to react when we face difficult times and those around us assume it is the result of our sin? We can either be like Job who kept trying to defend his innocence to his friends and became quite a complainer during the ordeal, or we can be like Paul who remained quiet, allowing the result of his trial to be his defense. You see Paul had just survived a shipwreck and while trying to make a fire to keep warm, was attacked by a snake that wrapped itself around his hand. The natives of the land concluded that he was a murderer, although he had survived the sea, justice was coming his way again, this time in the form of a snake bite. Paul did not respond to their assumptions, he barely shook off the snake from his hand into the fire. But after they had waited to see him fall and die from the snake bite and he did not, they changed their minds and now considered him to be a god! (Acts 28:3-6). When we remain steadfast in our trials, the Lord will take the glory. The people of the land came to know God after Paul’s miraculous deliverance, we too now partake of the gift of salvation that came through the suffering of Jesus on the cross. So, let us be encouraged, our sufferings serve a higher purpose, and in the end, people will glorify God if we remain steadfast regardless of what others may think is the reason for our suffering.