A selection of verses reflecting on some of the reasons why we suffer.
The writer to the Hebrews tells us that suffering can be for our future good:
7 It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with children, for what son is there whom his father doesn’t discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have been made partakers, then you are illegitimate, and not children. 9 Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness.
When questioned about a tower falling on some people, Jesus tells his audience that suffering can be a warning to make us stop and think about the fact that our lives will end one day:
4 Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the men who dwell in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.”
Jesus realises that his suffering at his crucifixion is necessary to fulfil God's purpose:
39 He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not what I desire, but what you desire.”
27 “Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this time?’ But I came to this time for this cause.
The apostle Peter writes that Jesus’s suffering is an example of what we might expect:
20 For what glory is it if, when you sin, you patiently endure beating? But if, when you do well, you patiently endure suffering, this is commendable with God. 21 For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps,
You can see more about what the Bible says about the problem of suffering on the Life's Big Questions website