This week’s devotions are based on the Week 3 “Explore God” – Why does God allow pain and suffering? (WATCH HERE)
It won’t last forever.
Is this a comforting phrase when you are in the middle of a season of suffering…especially when there is really no answer or end in sight? People who offer these words we may dismiss as petty, not really understanding our situation, or unrealistic optimists.
But is it true?
Will suffering last forever?
Unfortunately, the Bible is clear that for those that have rejected Jesus as their Savior will perhaps long for the suffering they experienced in their lifetime because their eternity is marked by an eternal suffering separated from God. The wages of sin is death. The consequence of sin is hell. Without Jesus there is no “better place,” but rather a much worse place and experience waiting for people. We don’t like to talk about this. We would like to think that ANYONE who dies after a life of suffering is “in a better place” or “without pain” or whatever other picture of comfort we conjure up. But the BIble does not teach relief from suffering for those that have rejected Jesus as Savior. Jesus himself teaches:
Matthew 25:31-46 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” . . . Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. . . . And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
But an eternity of suffering is not Jesus’ desire who wants all people to be saved and enjoy the eternal joy of heaven with no more crying or pain. For the believer in Jesus, there is an eternal answer to suffering from the one who entered this world to suffer the consequence of sin for us. Isaiah prophesied of Jesus’ work:
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
Trusting Jesus as the way to heaven assures the believer that suffering truly does have an end. Even when suffering ends in death, here is God’s promise to his children:
Revelation 21:3-5 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
When we are gifted this perspective, we can truly endure whatever pain or suffering on this earth because we have confidence that a time of no suffering is coming:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
So why does God allow pain and suffering in this world? Perhaps it’s simply to remind us that we live in a broken world because of sin, but we have a Savior who has overcome sin and promises us a home in heaven where pain and suffering will no longer be a reality. Look forward to that day!
Apply: How does the promise of heaven help you in a time of suffering today?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for sending Jesus to endure suffering for us and do all that was needed so that I might avoid eternal suffering in hell and rather look forward to the eternal joys of heaven. AMEN.