And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 10:38-39
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:24-25
Jesus Christ teaches that the righteous followers of Him will suffer for His name sake. As long as we are on this earth, we may experience many forms of sufferings. Taking up our crosses and denying ourselves are marks of discipleship. To follow Jesus would mean to suffer for His righteousness’ sake.
Suffering is a learning experience. We do not suffer because we are good people. Most righteous people are not immune to sufferings in life. We overcome sufferings through Christ who suffered for us. We welcome sufferings as purifier of our faith in the Lord. It is a test how far we go with Him. Do we follow Christ only because everything is going smoothly according to our untested faith?
The unrealistic expectations brought about by the preaching of the prosperity gospel and the life without sufferings creates a wrong picture of God. No harm shall come upon the children of God is a false assumption.
The question, “Why do the righteous suffer?” is an unbelievers dilemma. Why do believers get sick? Why do good people suffer tragic death or accident? “Why” is not part of God’s vocabulary because He knows the answer and we don’t. Our knowledge is finite and limited.
A true believer in Christ does not question God, why the righteous suffer. There are many things we can ask why things happen with no answer at hand. To suffer is a path to know more about Christ. He gets closer as you suffer while keeping hold of Him through His wonderful words of life.
The degree of sufferings changes from person to person. If you think that becoming a believer in Christ is all good life without pain and failure, you are mistaken. It is true that there are promises of divine protection in the Scriptures however that does not mean, we will not have a stormy and dangerous journey in this world.
To answer the question, “Why do the righteous suffer?” is an easy one. Who is righteous in this world anyway? I am sure no one is righteous. We are all unrighteous people before God our Father. We deserved all the punishments for our sins including the things we have done in secrets. Let us humble ourselves before our God the Father.