Trials are a challenge to our faith. It is difficult for us to accept that God would allow us to suffer, and not heal when we pray for healing. What does the Bible say about suffering, and the basis for our trust in God in the face of human suffering?
These are my personal Bible study notes.
God's Blessing and Healing on Righteousness
Exodus 15:25-26 Promise to heal from the diseases the Egyptians suffered.
Exodus 23:25-27 Blessings on bread and water; take sickness away.
Leviticus 26:3-13 Blessings on obedience.
Proverbs 11:8; 13:25; 15:6
Malachi 3:10 (in the case of tithing)
Matthew 7:14 difficult way
John 16:33 In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Acts 14:22 We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.
Romans 12:1 Present our bodies a living sacrifice.
Romans 12:12 "...patient in tribulation..."
2 Corinthians 1:3-10 God's comfort in our suffering. We have both sufferings and consolation of Christ.
2 Corinthians 6:4-10
2 Corinthians 7:4-7 Tribulations, and comfort in fellow brethren.
2 Corinthians 13:3-4 We live in physical weakness, but through Christ are made strong.
Philippians 3:7-11 Paul suffered loss of all things he previously held dear. Verse 10 talks of knowing "the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death".
Colossians 1:24 Rejoice in sufferings?!
1 Thessalonians 3:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:3 endure hardship as a good soldier
James 1:2-4; 5:7-11
1 Peter 1:6-9; 2:18-25; 4:12-19
1 Peter 5:9 same sufferings experienced by our brotherhood in the world.
Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.
Matthew 24:9 They will deliver you up to persecution and kill you.
Mark 8:34-38 Be prepared to suffer for our faith in Christ, even to lose our physical life.
Luke 6:20-23 Beatitudes. Blessings on the poor, those who hunger, those who weep, those who are persecuted.
John 15:20 If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.
John 16:1-3 Persecution of apostles. Be put out of synagogues.
Philippians 1:28-29 We will suffer for His sake. But, a Christian must be bold not terrified.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-7 persecutions and tribulations.
2 Timothy 3:12
Daniel 11:32-35 Some of God's people to fall to the beast power in the end time, though preaching God's word before they fall.
Matthew 24:9 They will deliver you up to persecution and kill you.
Ecclesiastes 3:6; 7:13-15; 9:11-12 Sometimes we are unlucky in life, and we just have to do the best we can in adverse circumstances. Still learn to trust in God who created a certain amount of adversity and unfairness as the facts of life.
Job 1:12; 2:6-7 Consider Satan's hand in Job's suffering. God gave him permission to harass Job, within limits. Satan had the power to do so when permitted.
2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul's trial from "a messenger of Satan".
Luke 13:16 Woman's suffering caused by Satan.
God's Judgement on Sin
Exodus 15:26 God had sent diseases on the Egyptians, and promised the Israelites He would spare them if they obeyed Him.
Leviticus 26:14-39 Curses on disobedience.
Deuteronomy 28:15-68 Curses on disobedience.
Judges 2:11-23; 3:8,9,12-15 4:3 10:7-10 God's judgment in the time of the judges.
1 Kings 8:33-40
Psalm 78:34-35 Trials may turn people back to God.
Proverbs 3:11-12; 19:29
Isaiah 30:20 God gives the "bread of adversity and the water of affliction".
Luke 19:41-44 Jerusalem didn't recognise their Messiah, and suffered punishment as a consequence.
1 Corinthians 11:27-32
Ephesians 5:3-7 Wrath of God on sin.
Revelation 3:19 God chastens those whom He loves, so that we may repent.
God Sometimes "Tests" or Purifies Us With Trials
Exodus 18:8 Israel's hardships and God's deliverance.
Leviticus 26:40-45 Repentance.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3 "...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..."
Deuteronomy 8:16 "...that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end..."
Daniel 11:35; 12:10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined.
Malachi 3:1-3 God is like a refiner of silver.
Matthew 7:24-27 The storms of life will come. The one who heeds Christ's words will be able to weather the storms.
Mark 9:49 everyone seasoned with fire
John 15:2 God "prunes" us, so we can bear more fruit.
1 Peter 1:6-7 Genuineness of our faith tested by fire.
Don't Test God
We should know God's loving character, power and wisdom, sufficiently to be able to have faith that He will give us what's best in the long run.
Psalm 78:18-22,41-43,56 The Israelites should have been able to trust God on the basis of the saving power they had witnessed (plagues on Egypt, crossing the Red Sea).
Psalm 95:9-10 "They tried me, though they saw My work... they do not know My ways."
Natural Consequences of Sin
Galatians 6:7 Reap what you sow.
Sometimes/Often God Doesn't Heal
Sometimes Righteous People Suffer
Consider Job. His friends were wrong to conclude that he must have sinned to cause his suffering.
John 9:1-5 A man was blind, but not for his or his parents' sin (John 9:34 Pharisees thought his parents must have sinned). It was to show God's power and love.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh. (Gal 4:15; 6:11 Possibly eyesight problem.)
Philippians 2:25-30 Epaphroditis was sick nearly to death, while serving the brethren.
1 Timothy 5:23 Timothy's "frequent infirmities".
God's Purpose Is Spiritual Blessings, Not Physical Blessings
God Accomplishes Good In Trials
Genesis 45:5-8; 50:20 God accomplished great good from Joseph's trial. Psalm 105:16-22
Job -- God accomplished good in Job's life through a tremendous trial incited by Satan. James 5:11
2 Corinthians 4:17
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Apostle Paul's thorn in the flesh kept him humble and made him depend on God's strength. (Gal 4:15; 6:11 Possibly eyesight problem.)
Philippians 1:12-18 In prison, Paul saw his trial as bearing spiritual fruit and furthering the gospel message.
Perseverance and Endurance in Trials
Psalm 13 "How long?"
Psalm 77 Remembering God's character in the midst of a hard trial.
2 Thessalonians 1:4-7
James 1:12 Endurance of temptation.
Hebrews 3:6,14 Endure to the end.
James 5:10-11 Perseverance of the prophets; God's mercy on Job.
Trials Normal Part of the Human Condition
Trials Due to Old Age
2 Samuel 19:34-37 Barzillai 80 years old, talks to David of his old age.
Psalm 39 The transience of human life.
Psalm 90:9-10 The brevity of human life.
Ecclesiastes 11:8; 12:1-8
Zechariah 8:4 Even in the Millennium, old people will need a staff to help them get around. This phenomenon of such aged people is seen as a blessing on society.
Psalm 90 Life is fleeting.
Isaiah 57:1-2 God lets the righteous die, to keep them from the world's evil. Eg 2 Chronicles 32:33 (Hezekiah); 2 Kings 22:18-20; 2 Chronicles 34:26-28; 35:24 (Josiah).
Our Physical Bodies Must Die, for Us to be Resurrected to Glory
Christ Suffered, Unjustly
Jacob running from Esau, tricked by Laban.
Joseph in slavery then jail.
Israelites in slavery.
When God started to intervene for the Israelites, at first things got worse for them.
Ruth and Naomi's blessing emerged out of family sorrow which Naomi characterised as "bitterness".
David on the run from King Saul.
Daniel, Shadrak, Meshak and Abed-Nego had their lives on the line after they disobeyed the law to do what was right. There was a 4th man with them in the fiery furnace.
Nehemiah built the temple in difficult circumstances.
John the Baptist beheaded.
Most apostles martyred.
2 Corinthians 11:22-33 Apostle Paul had many trials. Philippians 1:12-18 In prison, he saw his trial as bearing spiritual fruit and furthering the gospel message.
Hebrews 11:32-40 Faith chapter—believers who trusted God in the midst of trials.
Pray for Healing for Ourselves & Others
We Are God's Precious Children
Future Hope of Resurrection to Glory
Deuteronomy 8:16 "...that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end..." Israelites' destiny of promised land is symbolic of our eternal destiny.
1 Corinthians 15 Resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:19 Our hope is in the next life, not this one.
2 Thessalonians 1:7