The New Testament not only makes clear that suffering is necessary for followers of Christ, it is also at pains to explain why this is the case and what God’s purposes in it are. These purposes are crucial for believers to know. God has revealed them to help us understand why we suffer and to bring us through like gold through fire.
In Let the Nations Be Glad, in the chapter on suffering, I unfold these purposes. Here I will only name them and say to the prosperity preachers: Include the great biblical teachings in your messages. New believers need to know why God ordains for them to suffer.
- Suffering deepens faith and holiness.
- Suffering makes your cup increase.
- Suffering is the price of making others bold.
- Suffering fills up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.
- Suffering enforces the missionary command to go.
- The supremacy of Christ is manifest in suffering.