Here are 4 reasons our Heavenly Father will allow his sons to suffer.
1. God Will Make You Suffer as a Man to Prepare You for His Purposes
A.W. Tozer wrote:
It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply. God actually rises up storms of conflict in relationships at times in order to accomplish that deeper work in our character. We cannot love our enemies in our own strength. This is graduate-level grace. Are you willing to enter this school? Are you willing to take the test? If you pass, you can expect to be elevated to a new level in the Kingdom. For He brings us through these tests as preparation for greater use in the Kingdom. You must pass the test first.”
Suffering is not a joy, but there is a joy that can only come from suffering (James 1:2-4). In Christ, suffering supplies us with what we’ve been lacking, developing us through the pain that is like God’s paintbrush, forming us into his masterpieces (Ephesians 2:10), his sons (Hebrews 12:6-11)
2. God Will Make You Suffer as a Man Because to Lead Is to Sacrifice
In Mark 10:42-45 Jesus said:
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’”
The reason the world cannot accept the masculine call to lead is partly due to their worldly view of leadership. When God calls men to serve, the world thinks this is a privilege that will result in prestige, being served, and a life of ease. When you combine the biblical call to lead with the biblical definition of leadership, you realize the opposite is true. Biblical leadership as a man will not result in ease but in sacrifice.
To lead is to suffer for the benefit of others because to lead is to love, and that’s what love is – to sacrifice yourself for the benefit of another (John 15:13).
3. God Will Allow You to Suffer as a Man So You Can Comfort Those You Lead
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 explains:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
How can you lead those you can’t relate to? How can you help someone in their suffering if you’ve never been helped through your suffering? How can you point people to Christ during their pain if you have not found the way to Christ during your pain?
As a man, God has called you to comfort and protect those you lead. Therefore, he will teach you how to do this through your own season of suffering and being protected and comforted by God himself.
4. God Will Make You Suffer as a Man So You Can Be Powerful
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 states:
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When you get exalted by others before you have been humbled by God, you will exalt yourself when you are lifted up (1 Timothy 3:6). True power comes to us through humility, not pride; for God opposes the proud but gives his grace to the humble (James 4:6). Only when you’ve been brought low are you ready to be brought high by God’s (James 4:10).
When others see your power in the Lord, they will see past you and realize it is actually God working in you (1 Corinthians 15:10), thus he and not you will be glorified (Psalm 115:1, Psalm 23:3, John 3:30).