“Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1)
This cry of the psalmist has been echoed times without number by those persecuted for their faith. “Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. Awake, why sleepest thou, O LORD? arise, cast us not off for ever. Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?” (Psalm 44:22-24). Consequently, one of the great mysteries of life is the suffering of the righteous. How can a God of love and power allow such undeserved suffering in His creation?
The fact is, however, that there is no such thing as undeserved suffering, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The reason there is suffering in the world is that there is sin in the world. Even though one’s particular experience of suffering may or may not be directly related to his particular sin, all of us are sinners before God, and therefore deserving of nothing but suffering and judgment in the sight of a holy God.
It is not suffering that is undeserved but God’s grace and mercy! “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus 3:5). There has only been one person in all history whose suffering was undeserved, and He suffered for us, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
Our sufferings are not undeserved, but neither are they uncontrolled, for God “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11). There are many good reasons why God permits a faithful Christian to suffer, but even if one cannot discern the particular reason at the time, he can at least “rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13). HMM
From Days of Praise