Does God ordain suffering? Is all suffering ordained by God?
This is a difficult topic, one that many are discussing these days due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. While I believe Scripture has an answer, I do not believe it is a simple answer either.
Yes. Some believers are elected by God to suffer for His name. That much is clear. Revelation 6:9-11 speaks to an ordained # of Christians who are martyred. These martyrs are ordained by God. As you and I know, martyrdom is painful, often physically painful. Whether painful or not, it leads to death for the name of Jesus. So yes, suffering can be ordained.
No, I do not believe all suffering is ordained by God. I don't see in Scripture where all suffering is necessarily ordained by God like the suffering mentioned in Revelation 6.
But, whether God is specifically behind a certain crisis or suffering or whether it's simply the result of the fallen world we live in, God will always use it for His glory like he does every situation in our lives, whether we deem our situation as good or bad.
God using our crisis or suffering is not a terrible or unloving act. Usually those who see it as terrible or unloving are focused on the here and now, not on eternity. While God is concerned about our here and now, God is most concerned about our eternity.
Our here and now is temporary. Our eternity is forever.
Steve Schirmer, President of Silk Road Catalyst and co-Host of Missions Talk. Least Reached Advocate. Dedicated to No Place Left.