God wants us to experience joy and fulfillment, and even lots of pleasure as we live our lives for Him. Still, because the role of suffering occupies such a central place in God’s plan for our ultimate destiny in Him, we can’t simply sweep the issue under the rug. So one way to better understand His purpose for us is to begin to recognize the methods by which He employs suffering as a part of His plan to bring us into our destiny.
What are they? First of all, this world is not our home. We are merely sojourners here. The great people of God in the Bible all knew this to be true.(Hebrews 11:13) Paul was well aware of this fact: “For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven”(2 Corinthians 5:2, Romans 8:23). We simply were not created for the objective of happiness on this earth, no matter how bountiful life here might turn out to be.
It doesn’t matter how rich we become, what prestige or power we gain in life, or even how wonderful our relationships with family and friends are. Mature Christians know that all these things pale in comparison to what we’ve really been designed for. And the fact is that none of these earthly benefits, no matter how marvelous they are, exempt us from challenges and hardships that come in so many different ways throughout our lives. Merely by virtue of the fact that we live in a world full of sin and suffering—what we call a fallen world—puts us in direct conflict with any hope that God’s design could be solely focused on our happiness here on earth.
Excerpted from: Free from the Power of Sin: The Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself