1. Because of personal sin (temporal judgment).  This does not imply that all problems and negative circumstances are a result of sin (cf. Job; Psalm 73; Luke 14:1-5; Nehemiah 9; John 9; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 11:29-30; Gal. 6:7). 

2. To develop Christlikeness (Heb. 5:8).  Even Jesus, humanly speaking, had to be matured, so too, His followers (cf. Rom. 5:3-4, 8:28-29; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Phil. 3:10; Heb. 12:5-12; James 1:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:7).

3. To develop a powerful, effective witness (cf. Matt. 5:10-12; John 15:18-22; 1 Pet. 2:18-21, 3:13-17).

4. As a sign of the birth pains of the New Age (cf. Matt. 24:6; Mark 13:8).


Two books that have helped me deal with the unfairness and evil of this fallen world are Hannah Whithall Smith, The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life and John W. Wenham, The Goodness of God.

Believers must remember that problems and suffering are not necessarily a sign of God's anger or rejection.  Bad things happen to faithful followers in a fallen world (cf. 1 Pet. 4:12-19).  God's promises and Christ's self-giving death are the signs of God's love (cf. Rom. 5:8).  Scripture must take precedence over temporary circumstances!


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