Does God Punish?
There are many people who pointed to the relief that God does not punish, but if you can on what you mean by punishment. If you were thinking of punishment as God watching down from a cloud in heaven ready to rain down lightning bolt upon the first sign of sin, Then of course God does not punish, at least not in this way. A great deal of suffering that we face in life is just a natural process of having to deal with consequences of our actions.
Free will is a great gift, but it comes with great responsibility. God chose that instead of making us into mindless robots or slaves that must do His bidding at every moment. He would rather make us in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26) Giving us the amazing power to make rational decisions, the power to choose our own path. Whether we choose the right path or the wrong one, there are consequences.
When we follow God we are rewarded with the benefits of living in a relationship with Him, His grace flows freely and generously into our lives. However, there are effect what turning away as well. Should you choose to rob a bank there are consequences right? You will be hunted by the authorities. You will lose your rights as a citizen. Much will be taken away from you for tying to take property away from others.
This type of suffering it’s not dealt out my God, but it’s a direct result of bad decisions that you will have to live with. Every action has a reaction. Isaac newton saw this in the study of physics:
Every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion
Every decision has consequences good or bad accordingly.
That being said, we can agree that there are some instances of suffering in the world that are difficult to reconcile with the idea of God being all good. But the people affected by war and terrorism aren’t necessarily the one who made the bad decisions could have brought about your current circumstance. They suffer because others have made bad decisions. It is much more difficult to find purpose in this type of suffering.
The Discipline Of A Father
So you must know in your heart that, even Eggman disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.Deuteronomy 8:5
So when it comes to personal suffering that is usually result of our bad choices, the consequences can most often be seen as discipline. It doesn’t always make it go easier to go through and sometimes we aren’t able to see it that way until after the fact. But the Bible is pretty clear on the idea that God is our father and as any Father He wants what’s best for us. He wants us to achieve our goals potential. And if there is a need for us to learn a lesson. He’ll take it vantage of our mistakes to help us grow. Not to make us writhe about in pain and suffering, but to show us a better way (1 Corinthians12:31). It’s like me eating more chocolate than I should and then getting a migraine the next day. I chose to eat the chocolate now I have to reap the migraine.
If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment; Since we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world1 Corinthians 11:32
God wants to see us at our best. No parent want to see their child suffer, but sometimes you have to step back and allow their child to learn something from the situation or circumstances in which they find themselves, even if that means a little suffering. This doesn’t make them bad parents, in fact it makes you a better parents.
Embracing Suffering As Good
Kind of passive approach allows a child to realize that there are consequences to their actions, and to face the consequences and grow through the process. Children don’t you hate your parents because of this, but later in life come to appreciate the fact that their parents allowed them to learn these important lessons.
The discipline of the Lord, my son, do not spurn; do not disdain His reproof: For whom the Lord loves He reproves, as a Father, the son He favorsProverbs 3:11-12
Only a parent who truly loves her title will discipline them, because suffering or a child means suffering for the parent. It hurts to watch your child go through a difficult time at any age, but a good parent loves her child enough to step back and left left and we learned This is true discipline. It needs having an ability to step in and save in any moment, but actively choosing not to because often the result of that suffering is worse the pain with the moment.
I admit, I just difficult to understand when you are the one suffering. In the mist of struggle and the storms of life, all one can think about it when will it end. We often question.” Why am I going through this? Why is this so hard? But when the suffering finally comes to an end, in retrospect it’s obvious benefit is had
When we think about it, Christ’s suffering has value, a fact we must have proven. It is the lesson that Jesus teaches us on the cross, the redemptive power of suffering. There is good and suffering, even in the death of Christ. So even in our own lives, and in difficulty, the struggle, the storms of life, We can find hope and like the Fatherly discipline of God, leading not to “take it like a man,” but to see suffering is an opportunity for God to work in our lives, to teach us new lessons, to help us grow, and to make us holy.
All captioning seems for the present not to be joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised .Hebrews 12:11
Learning To Love Suffering
Suffering is not easy. That’s kind of the point. It’s difficult because only in difficult situations do we really grow. To suffer should is to be challenged on some level. There are some people who suffer much more than others, and whether the suffering is physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological, the purpose of that suffering should be seen as an opportunity for growth.
I always think about physical exercise and those who work out. In order to be in shape or build muscle you have to exert significant amount of physical strain on your body. It hurts, especially when you’re just getting started. You will feel sore. For most people it’s not fun. But the results of the pain and difficulty are worth it.
Our hope for Is firm, for we know that as we share in the sufferings, you also share in the encouragement.2 Corinthians 1:7
Some Bibles translate the word encouragement as consolation which I think gives a greater silence in the truth of this verse. What Paul is getting at is that suffering it’s not just God’s way of making our lives difficult so He can watch writhing about in pain. In fact, He actually saying that through our suffering our eyes are opened in a sense to be able to see Him in a whole new light.
How Suffering Helps Us To See God
Blessed are the pure in heart or they will see God.Matthew 5:8
Being pure of heart, leads to holiness of life. So, obviously when we give ourselves over to sin, it will become harder for us to “see God.” I’ve heard this concept explained like this; Pictures God’s grace, like the rain. God is continually pouring out his grace, running it down upon us. However, when we sin it is like we open the umbrella over our heads. The grace doesn’t stop raining down on us but it’s prevented from ever reaching us. Until the umbrella is put away, or until we are forgiven or absolves of our sin the grace of God pour into our lives once again.
God doesn’t want us to suffer for suffering sake, but so that we can better know Him. The Saints knew this. In fact, many of them not only welcome suffering, but desired it. It sounds crazy to us, but it makes sense once we are able to see suffering as an opportunity rather than a burden.
We have to pass through many trials before reaching the haven of peace, before tasting the delicious fruits of God’s perfect love and of the complete abandonment to God’s will.
It’s clear if we look at the example of Jesus’s suffering. He understood the ultimate suffering all for the sake of you and I. But that wasn’t the end of it. He didn’t suffer to suffer. He wasn’t a masochist. His suffering was for our salvation, it shows us how God loves. His pain brought us closer to God.
It might be helpful for you to think about that next time you are going through a difficult time: How might God be providing me with an opportunity to grow through this suffering?
Burning not only to accept suffering, but even more so to embrace it, to desire it, is to walk in the way of the Saints. They are able to see suffering in a new light and reap the benefits of its power.
From Affliction To Affection
One of my favorite songs is “ How He loves us by David Crowder Band. It speaks to the point that we have been exploring here today. Suffering and addictions are unavoidable. They are in evitable. They are also necessary as part of life and especially when it comes to our relationship with God. Through our suffering we are open up to a deeper understanding of God‘s love for us and the difficulty of the suffering is overshadowed by the blessing of God’s grace in our lives.
All of the sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipse by glory. And I realize just how beautiful you are and great your affections are for me.David Crowder Band, “How He Loves Us
You change my morning into dancing; You took off my sackcloth and called me with gladness.Psalm 30:12
Have you ever seen the power of redemptive suffering in your life?