you choose Q: do our problems always occur for God’s glory?
Q: We read of Paul’s thorn-in-the-flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Does the apostle Paul mean that whenever a born-again Christian experiences a problem (e.g sickness), that it is to the glory of God? —Michael
A: We live in a sinful and fallen world. Sickness, suffering, and pain are very much a direct and indirect consequence of sin (Genesis 3:17-19, 4:11-12; Isaiah 24:5-6; Romans 8:20-22; 2 Corinthians 5:4). And they serve to remind us that we live in a world that has gone horribly wrong.
But God has does not simply allow us to suffer alone. For, in reality, no one has suffered more than Him. No one has paid more dearly for the presence of sin in this world. No one has suffered more than Jesus who, when He stretched out His arms and died on the Cross, showed us how much He loved us. It’s this God who is drawing us to Himself and telling us to trust Him when we’re suffering (Romans 8:28-39).
Sickness and suffering in themselves are never good, and they do not glorify God. But God in His sovereign grace and goodness can use them for His purposes (Romans 5:3-4; Hebrews 12:6-12; James 1:3-4), turn them around for our good (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28), and allow them to occur for His own glory (Romans 8:29-30; 2 Corinthians 4:15-18; 1 Peter 1:7-8, 5:10).
You can read a lot more about why we suffer and the role of suffering in a Christian’s life in these online resources:
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