John 18 Lesson

Suffering and spiritual development

There is nothing in the Bible that says that life is going to be easy.   Jesus’ life was not easy.   So why do we expect ours to be?

The Bible tells us repeatedly about the suffering that we can expect in this lifetime.   God allows us to suffer. This suffering helps shape us into the people that God created us to be.

Here are just a few of the many scriptures that talk about suffering:

2 Corinthians 4:17 - “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”

Psalm 119:71 - “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”

Romans 5:3-5 - And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;   and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;   and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

In addition, you may click on any of the links below for detailed studies on the following topics:

Virtual Bible Study's lesson entitled, "Suffering"

Virtual Bible Study's lesson entitled, "Suffering and comfort"

Virtual Bible Study's lesson entitled, "Suffering is to be expected"

Virtual Bible Study's lesson entitled, "Suffering. Bad things will happen to good people"

Virtual Bible Study's lesson entitled, "Suffering and spiritual development"

Virtual Bible Study's lesson entitled, "Suffering: Jesus' example"

Something to keep in mind when we are suffering is that on earth God allows bad things to happen to good people, and good things to happen to bad people.   Jesus tells us this in His Sermon on the Mount:

“For He causes His sun to rise on the  evil and the  good, and sends rain on the  righteous and the  unrighteous.” – Mathew 5:45.

Think about the sun and the rain from the above scripture.   Both are necessary for life, and both can destroy us too.   When we are in a drought, we pray for rain.   When we are in a flood, we pray for sunlight.   If we have skin cancer, we hide from the sun, etc.

Therefore, God allows good things to happen to bad people and vice versa.

Suffering is something that God needs us to go through.   Suffering allows us to self-reflect and focus on the priorities in life that really matter to us.

We will be better at navigating the difficulties we face in life if we keep our time on earth in perspective compared to eternity.  

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” - Romans 8:18-19.

God is telling us that whatever we are going through, no matter how difficult it may seem, it is nothing compared to the joy that awaits us in heaven. Pain is temporary. Heaven is eternal.

Think about all that Jesus is going through in Chapter 18.

  1. He is aware of the painful death that He will soon experience.
  2. He is being arrested and beaten.
  3. The people that He has loved are turning against Him.
  4. Those that He preached to about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are now asking for Him to be crucified.

Throughout all of this, Jesus remains faithful to His father.   He knows why He is here and what God wants Him to do, and He does it.   Without fail, He does it.   No matter how hard it is.   No matter how painful it may be.

Look at what Jesus said to Peter after Peter cut off the ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave:

“Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” – John 18:11.

In other words, stop trying to interfere with God’s plan!   Jesus knew what He was supposed to do, and He did it.   It is as simple as that.

So what about us?   Are we really expected to be as strong as Jesus was when we deal with life’s struggles?   Of course not, but we are expected to try.

God’s plan for us will take us to Heaven if we follow it.

That is worth repeating.

God’s plan for us will take us to Heaven if we follow it.

Even when it is hard.

Especially when it is hard.

We must follow it.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Who are we to question God’s plan for us?   Our job is to follow His plan.   Like Jesus, we need to drink the cup that God has prepared for us.  

The prize that awaits those who faithfully follow God’s commandments is eternity in heaven. There we will be in the presence of the Almighty God.   In heaven,  there  will be no more crying and no more pain. It is our hope in Jesus that will see us through even the most difficult of times.


Dan W

Yes, there are many benefits to suffering if God wills and it's wonderful to be able to ask Him to relieve it. Regardless, all things work together for good for those that love Him (Romans 8:28).

Click To View The Discussion
Dan W

Yes, there are many benefits to suffering if God wills and it's wonderful to be able to ask Him to relieve it. Regardless, all things work together for good for those that love Him (Romans 8:28).

Martha Rebeca
Dan W

Yes, so very true.My life is proof of Romans 8:28..


"If you don't know where you are going, any road will do." God's word gives us a purpose and a map to follow. One filled with love, integrity, hope and all that is right. Thank you Heavenly Father for your word!


To God be the glory!