O LORD, how long?
"Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak:
O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.
My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?"
Why is there suffering in this world?
Much of the suffering in this world is due to the change that happened when sin
entered into the world through Adam. This affected everyone from that point
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
So we see that some suffering is universal and indiscriminant in its nature.
God's own people have raised the question of why they in particular suffer, why their suffering sometimes continues for long periods of time, and why it seems that God isn't answering their prayers for help. We see many examples of this in the Psalms. Some of these appear below:
Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.
Why standeth thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
There are answers to these questions in God's word:
Suffering allows us to experience God's mercy and understand God's love:
I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;
God's people still have sin and sometimes suffering comes as a result of this:
When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.
God sometimes uses suffering to get our attention and cause us to call unto him:
The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Suffering can help us grow in Christ:
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
When God comforts us in our suffering this enables us to comfort others:
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
II Corinthians 1:4
Many are the afflictions of the righteous:
but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?
hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
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