Why does GOD allow ‘SUFFERINGS’ in our lives? "And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you. Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him." (Deut 8:2-6)
This is an important passage for the Israelites as it unveils the truth behind why God allowed trials and sufferings in their lives. The truth is that God wanted to humble them, prove them, and test their obedience. But He also fed them with manna from heaven, and provided clothes that did not wear out and shoes which kept their feet from swelling during the forty years of wilderness wanderings!
God already knew what was in the hearts of the Israelites, and He was manifesting to the people themselves their own rebellious nature so that they might more fully appreciate His mercy and grace. The response to God’s testings helped determine their inner nature. The wilderness experience had a purpose in the plan of God, that is, to provide a time for testing and discipline, and to remove all self-sufficiency and turn them back to a dependence upon God.
So, God was allowing Israelites to choose whether or not they would obey His commandments or not, and the trials were designed to get them to trust God (Matt. 4:4; Luke 4:4). God humbled the Israelites in the wilderness, letting them suffer hunger and then miraculously supplied them with manna (Exodus 16). The lesson here was that in the absence of all natural means, God would sustain them even by His Word. Whenever we have a need, we should approach God through faith and prayer and He will take care of us!
God will test us by His word (v. 1) to discern if we will hear and obey His word. God will also test us by His ways (vv. 2–9) by putting us into situations that will help us to know our own hearts. When we become proud, God will humble us. So, why does God allow sufferings in our lives? Here are five possible reasons:
- That we may understand that God is responsible for everything good to happen in our lives (James 1:17)
- That we may know the value of trusting and obeying God completely (Prov 3:5-6)
- That we may remember always that whatever we accomplish will be only through God’s help (John 15:5b)
- That even though we experience God’s discipline through initial difficulty, but it is followed by great blessings (Prov. 3:11, 12; Heb. 12:5, 6)
- That we may understand that God will supply our every need and our basic source of life is God Himself (Phil 4:19)