God has a good plan even in our suffering. It is difficult to believe that God can bring something good out of the problems we face in life. Suffering is unpleasant, so no one likes to suffer. Our flesh naturally seeks comfort and pleasantness. The idea of having to suffer is repulsive to us.
Let us be reminded, however, that the greatest suffering brought to us the greatest blessing — the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. God’s plan of redemption of man from sin entailed a sacrificial suffering of His only Son, Jesus Christ. Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22).
Believers are not exempted from sufferings. There are different reasons why we suffer, but God can use our suffering to bring greater blessing in our life. If we have to suffer, may we suffer for doing what is right in the eyes of God because even in suffering we are blessed!
“Now who will harm you if you become imitators of that which is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. ‘Don’t fear what they fear, neither be troubled.’ ”– 1 Peter 3:13-14 (WEB)
“For it is better, if it is God’s will, that you suffer for doing what is right than for doing evil. Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit…”– 1 Peter 3:17-18 (WEB)
Don’t give up in suffering because God rescues and provides. Naomi and Ruth are one of the great examples in the Bible of how God cares for His people during lack and suffering.
Naomi’s husband and 2 sons died. Ruth was one of the daughters-in-law of Naomi. They were both widows. In Biblical times, the widowed Israelite women oftentimes suffer poverty especially when their economic support is largely dependent on their husband. They were poor and they had low social status. We could see how God defends and protects widows throughout the Bible because of their lowly plight. The story of Ruth and Naomi also reveals the faithfulness of God in rescuing the needy. When Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem, Ruth had to glean barley grains from the field of Boaz so they could have food to eat (Ruth 2). Gleaning of grains is an ancient custom which God specifically commanded Israel to leave some parts of their harvest for the poor to gather after the reapers.
“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not glean your vineyard, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the foreigner. I am Yahweh your God.”– Leviticus 19:9-10 (WEB)
It was through Ruth’s gleanings that she and Boaz, a relative of Elimelech (the husband of Ruth), became acquainted. Because Boaz was a kinsman of Elimelech, he naturally became the kinsman-redeemer of Ruth, as was their practice. A kinsman redeemer was a male relative who had the responsibility to rescue, redeem, or avenge a relative in need. Thus, Ruth became Boaz’swife and she bore a son, named Obed (Ruth 3-4).
These events tell of how God is faithful to all who are in need and who are suffering. Like with Naomi and Ruth, God does not abandon us but He provides us with what we need and sustains us with His provisions. He rescues us from our troubles. Above all, His plan for every trouble we face is always greater than the suffering we experience. Because Naomi and Ruth were widows, they had to look for greener pasture in Naomi’s homeland which allowed Ruth and Boaz to meet and give birth to Obed, the grandfather of David, the predecessors of our great Redeemer, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-17).
Suffering is painful but when God’s hand is behind it, He has a greater plan. Don’t give up in the momentary troubles of life. Go to God and abide in His will for you. He hears, He rescues, He provides, and He will lead you according to His good plan for your life.