Is Suffering Essential to Faith?

Often in times of trouble we run to God for answers and comfort, and we often emerge from the experience more faithful then we were before; however, I don’t think I’m alone in wondering if pain and suffering are absolutely necessary to our faith in Christ.

So, what do you think, is suffering an essential part of faith?

Share your answer!

16 Responses to “Is Suffering Essential to Faith?”

  • The word of God in Heb.11:1, says “Faith is the substance of things hoped for , the evidence of things not seen.
    You see when you desire a thing and there seems to be delay in receiving, then there is an emotional disturbance that leads to some pain that can not be explained. You just have to be patient and believe totally that God will remove the obstacle creating the imaginary delay and the word of God says “without faith it is impossible to please God” note that men of old obtained good result by faith. For purpose of digesting this issue just read Heb.11:1-40.
    Thank you and God bless.
    Akingbade Akinola

  • It depends on what you mean by “essential”… meaning that if we don’t have it, we cannot follow Jesus? Or suffering is a requirement to be fully human? “Essential” is a strict word.

    There is a false idea floating around the church that the more we suffer, the more spiritual we are. There’s an equally false idea that is the opposite: that the less you suffer the more spiritual you are. These views are denounced in Scripture, beginning with Job.

    We can consider suffering “joy” when we let it do it’s work on us (James 1). But some suffering we can also simply call evil for that is what it is. And we get to enter the suffering of Jesus–he’s the only God with scars.

    Considering we live in a fallen world, we WILL suffer to varying degrees: whether it be a crisis of identity, physical pain, betrayed relationship, not getting our way, etc. So at the end of the day it’s not a question of whether it’s essential or not. We ALL qualify. The question is what we do with the material of suffering.

    • Chris says:

      @Dale I was thinking more along the lines of suffering as it relates to following Jesus.

      And, you caught me, I intentionally chose the word “essential” because of how strict it is. :) The interesting part–as you’ve already pointed out–is how we react to that suffering and hence I wonder if following Christ means we must suffer in order to have faith in him.

      Do you mind expanding a bit on what we should do with the “material of suffering”? (great phrase btw)

      • Since everyone suffers, sometimes it leads some to faith and sometimes it doesn’t. Plenty of people suffer in this world and are not drawn to Jesus. But since all suffer in some ways, it makes the point less interesting to say it’s a requirement to have faith, on my view.

        As for material of suffering (glad you like the phrase :)), all our suffering provides us material for reflection, identity, to consider if our suffering is a result of our foolishness or another’s, material to forgive, or to absorb evil (as Christ did) like blood in a sponge so that it goes no further–an idea borrowed from Scott Peck.

  • todd d says:

    no i feel the suffering is our own lesson in life and God is the one to take it away if we ask him to we also need to tell satan to stay out in jesuses name because your wek and he can try and wiggle in. Heres a saying to keep in mind when you think your back is against the wall it isn’t :It’s against the CROSS” Amen!!!!!

  • paul bodine says:

    The suffering originally had the meaning “to allow” as when Jesus tells his disciples to “suffer the little children to come onto me.”. In that context suffering is allowing God to have his way with us which is painful to our flesh which wants to follow its own desires. We suffer the loss of the things our flesh desires when we choose to heed the Holy Spirit who wages was against the flesh as scripture tells us. We must excercise our faith to make this choice because we are giving up what we can see for saomething unseen in the moment except with our spiritual eyes. As our Savior told his disciples “for the joy that is set before me I will endure the pain and suffering of the cross”.

  • Michelle says:

    What a God thing that I came upon this question tonight. I as many other Christians suffer, but I think the question deals with the sufferings we endure by sharing the gospel. Today the gospel of Christ was rejected twice by different family members. And I need to surely remember that it was the gospel they rejected and not me. I did suffer for a while, but I was comforted in His Word that God is just and He is the Author and Finisher of everything. I did my part and I shall rest that He is not finished.

  • Sharlene says:

    sure it draws us closer 2 God.

  • Rev Dr Roy Catchpole says:

    Have a look at my thesis online. Rev.Dr.Roy Catchpole ‘Christian Coping in Correctional Institutions’. Godbless.

  • shelly gallardo says:

    The word suffering in the greek means “to have undergone something, that is hardship or pain subjectively an emotion or influence, affection, affliction, motion
    Hebrews 2:10 says (broken down into the greek) it suited God(for whom all things and by whom all things) in leading much children into glory,to make the cheif leader of their rescue,deliverance,safety and protection (salvation) complete through something undergone(sufferings). Christ the cheif leader of our salvation underwent many sufferings which was essential in making Him complete as the chief leader of our salvation.
    Mathew 5:48 say Be thou perfect(complete) as I am perfect. Sufferings help us to go on to completion (perfectness) in Christ. I do think that sufferings are an essential part of our faith(persuasion.


  • Humphrey Wanyama says:

    It is in order to suffer and undergo pain. Though Jesus bore all our pain on the cross, it is befitting for Christians to undergo trials because at the end of it , ones faith in Christ is elevated as well as one’s dependence on God. It is through suffering that we learn how to cast our burdens to the Lord.

    Be blessed.

    Evangelist Humphrey Wanyama

  • Humphrey Wanyama says:

    For me I prefer to undergo suffering because at the end I become mature and more hardened. Also it gives me ground for counselling those undergoing pain.

    Be blessed

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  • Lassie says:

    Often when (and not IF!) I am suffering (emotionally, financially, physically, etc) I stop to consider if there is anything I have done to cause that suffering…kinda try to take responsibility for it and not just revert to the “poor me’s”.
    Time and time again I come back to…..poor choices I have made, and ones in which I can’t really say I consulted God over or waited for Him to show me how to go forward.
    One example…..marrying the “wrong man”. After 7 awful years together, we divorce….what follows is years of suffering – for the children, for one’s economy, one’s helath, you name it.
    So—maybe I am too hard on myself ?—-but I think we bring alot of our suffering upon ourselves.
    I am not saying God turns his back on me because I went my own way and thought I knew better…I trust in His grace and His love, the promises He has made and I am eternally thankful…and I have seen how He helps me try to get out of the mess I got myself in to!

    Another angle to suffering?

  • John Lee Davis says:

    There is an old work adage, “If you hire yourself; you have to pay yourself.” meaning – if you are suffering for something you did or did not do, then that’s on you. but if you are working for Jesus and something happens to you as a consequence, then Jesus will take care of you, that suffering is all good.