God loves you enough to cause you to suffer loss—all different types of loss—in order that you may see that Jesus is truly better than anything in the world. Paul had a lot going for him in his previous life in Judaism. He had a lot of “gain” (“whatever gain I had…”). But at conversion, these insignificant gains merely served to contrast the true gain he found in Christ; they comparatively were losses.
I recently preached a sermon about how God lovingly allows us to suffer for his glory and our good. The text was John 11:1-16, the focal point on suffering arising from the stunning conjunction connecting verses 5 and 6:
- “ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” (John 11:5-6)
Jesus loved them, so he didn’t go for two more days. He didn’t heal Lazarus on the spot. He let Mary and Martha watch their brother Lazarus get sicker and sicker. He allowed Lazarus to die. All out of love.
Why would Jesus do this? He doesn’t leave us to doubt. “This illness is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). And later: “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe” (John 11:14-15). Glory and faith. Or more specifically, so that through the death happening he could be displayed as who he truly is, and so that his disciples may grow more in trusting him because of it. For his glory. For their good.
10 Ways God Lovingly Allows Us to Suffer for Our Good
This is a theme we see throughout the Bible: God lovingly allow his people to suffer for his glory and for our good. In my sermon I listed 10 instances I found for this in the New Testament. They are written below. The list is not by any means exhaustive. When I made it, I merely set out to see where I could find in the New Testament the apostles talk about suffering in a way that was for their/our good. Here’s what I found.