Feb 7, 2023

Our Suffering Has a Purpose

3 Min Read

You and I are going to face tests and trials. There’s no way around them.

God’s Word equips us for these tests and trials, and this month we will send you a brand-new teaching series from Dr. Derek Thomas that offers a unique look at our tests and trials when you give a gift of any amount to Ligonier Ministries. More on that below.

From God’s Word, Dr. R.C. Sproul pointed out the truth that we will suffer. James 1:2–4 tells us to “count it all joy” when we face trials. He doesn’t say if we face trials. Suffering is part and parcel of the Christian life.

Because we also know from Scripture about God’s holy character and His sovereignty over all that happens, however, we understand that suffering strengthens our faith in order to produce steadfastness and hope (Rom. 5:3–5). Dr. Sproul put it this way: “God allows suffering to come into our lives to refine us, as it were, to teach us how to be more and more dependent on Him.”

We learn these difficult lessons and progress in sanctification as we shape our thoughts, emotions, and actions by Scripture in the midst of our trouble. Ligonier Ministries labors around the world to help Christians shape themselves by the Word of God so that they will pass through their trials faithfully and grow to spiritual maturity.

Here in the West, you have likely seen the recent aggressive challenges from unbelievers. Secularism is rampant, many people are turning to non-Christian religions or the “religion of the self,” and ungodly legislation keeps coming down from the government. At the end of 2022, the U.S. Congress raised its fist against the God of heaven and earth by enacting legislation that gives explicit government redefinition to the word marriage.

The implications for biblically faithful churches and institutions are significant. We don’t yet know how this will affect Christians who are faithful to the teaching of God’s Word and the fundamental structures of creation regarding sex and marriage. Pressure to be silent may lead some to compromise under threat of suffering. Christians will be falsely charged and called unloving or hateful by fellow citizens for not affirming lies, even when we do so with kindness and gentleness.

While this specific challenge seems new in our era, trials are not new for the church. Ligonier is preparing fresh teaching to remind God’s people that throughout history, the world has told lies about believers, and believers have suffered because of slander. Consider the example of Paul. He was jailed many times, being accused of disturbing the peace and blaspheming the Jewish religion because he proclaimed the gospel of salvation by faith alone in Christ alone. He never stopped preaching, planting churches, and strengthening the next generation of leaders because he knew it was better to die for Jesus than to live in denial of Him.

What sustained Paul and other faithful individuals in the darkest days of testing was their confidence in the Lord God Almighty. They knew His character and that His purposes would stand, and thus they understood that every trial on this side of heaven is but a “light momentary affliction . . . preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17).

In an age when truth is so hard to find, Ligonier strives to be a lifeline to Christians who are seeking to grow in their knowledge of the one true God and to pass that knowledge on to others. Every month, millions are turning to our podcasts, publications, teaching series, conferences, and other outreaches for help. We hear regularly from people who found themselves equipped to persevere through trials faithfully because of biblical teaching they received from Ligonier, not only in English but in many other languages as well.

We need your prayerful support to continue providing this lifeline as we seek to develop the largest library of teaching resources true to the historic Christian faith. To thank you for your gift of any amount this month, we’ll send you a new teaching series from Dr. Derek Thomas titled Imprisoned: Faith in All Circumstances. Dr. Thomas looks at several figures in Scripture who suffered imprisonment, and he considers the lessons they learned in their trials. We’ll send you this series on DVD when you give a gift to Ligonier. Plus, when we process your donation, we’ll add the complete series and the digital study guide to your Learning Library here on Ligonier.org for immediate online access.

Thank you for standing with Ligonier to equip people to persevere faithfully in suffering.