Now, suppose I’m afflicted with suffering. Why? Why am I afflicted? There could be several reasons. It may be that God needs to correct me and that it is part of His corrective wrath to make me sick or to bring me low. He does that. There are manifold examples of that in Scripture. How did Miriam get leprosy? God gave her leprosy to bring her to repentance. What is Jesus saying here? “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Sometimes the suffering that we have in this world is because God is correcting us or disciplining us, but we can’t jump to the conclusion that every time we get sick or every time we suffer that there’s a direct correlation between our disobedience and the pain that we’re experiencing.
We don’t rejoice that we have a headache. We don’t rejoice that we have cancer eating away at us. What we do rejoice in is the presence of God in the midst of our pain. But again, we have to understand, lest we fall into being absolutely undone and astonished whenever affliction hits us, that we are to expect it. It’s part of our call as Christians that God has called us into a fallen world to minister into a world that is a vale of tears. And it’s a place of pain. And there’s no way that we can ever expect to escape it.