Why So Much Pain?

9 Reasons God Allows Adversity

By Charles F. Stanley
  • February 26, 2016

Adversity is a condition of suffering and hardship involving anguish, pressure, trials, heartaches, or disappointments. It may be physical or emotional in nature, and either long or short in duration, but it always causes pain. Although none of us want hurt or trouble, if it comes, we have two options. We can waste our sorrows or grow in our relationship with the Lord. But God allows adversity in our lives for specific reasons:

  1. To get our attention. When life is running smoothly, it’s easy to ignore the Lord; but in adversity, He suddenly has our undivided attention.

  2. To conquer pride. If we’re doing well, we might be tempted to look down on those who are struggling, but adversity humbles us. The apostle Paul was given awesome privileges and insights, but along with them came a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from exalting himself (2 Cor. 12:7-10). God allows humbling pain because He knows that pride prevents us from being used by Him.

  3. To remind us of our weakness. A sense of personal strength and adequacy keep us self-sufficient, but the Lord knows how to weaken us with affliction so we’ll turn to Him for direction and strength.

  4. To increase our hatred of sin. The suffering that comes with disobedience reminds us of the awful impact of sin. God sometimes disciplines us with adversity so we will learn to hate sin and practice righteousness.

  5. To demonstrate His faithfulness. Only in our greatest need will we understand how dependable and trustworthy the Lord is. Pain and hardship drive us to seek Him for help, and in the midst of our suffering, we discover that He is always faithful.

  6. To equip us to comfort others. When God comforts us in our affliction, we become a spring of comfort to others (2 Cor. 1:3-7). Having gone through pain, we are better able to sympathize with those who are going through a similar situation.

  7. To prepare us for service. Experiencing hardship and suffering equips us to serve the Lord in various ways and meet the needs of others.

  8. To express His love for us. Because God loves us so much, He sends adversity to rescue us from dangers we don’t see and to draw us into the safety of a life fully surrendered to Him.

  9. To change our direction. God uses adversity to stop us from going astray and to redirect our path into His will.

Biblical truths affirm that God’s goal for our adversity is our spiritual growth. Adversity is the Lord’s most effective way of deepening our faith and commitment to Him. After He has brought us through it, the foundation of our trust in Him is strengthened (1 Pet. 1:6-7). And with each trial, our confidence in Him increases as we look back and see how He was faithful.

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Growing in Our Adversity,” which airs this weekend on TV.

Related Topics:  Sovereignty  |  Grief  |  Death

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7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself!

8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.

9 And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer;

7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

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