How to Connect the Gospel to Physical Suffering

How to Connect the Gospel to Physical Suffering

Photo: ©Gustavo Fring from Pexels via Canva.com

Connecting the gospel to physical suffering is one of the most essential things you will ever do. The “good news” is always perfect when there is bad news, but how to make those gospel connections are not quickly apparent, especially when your pain is acute and ongoing. Here are seven practical ways to think about the gospel and physical suffering.

You may want to read:

Consequences of Fallenness

My husband is disabled and in high pain daily and on morphine to keep the pain down to a seven on the pain scale. The Scriptures that I see on suffering seem to relate the gospel to persecution when reading in context. How would I relate the gospel to my husband’s pain since it’s not related to persecution? – Supporting Member

This question is not only a smart and insightful one, but it is a plea from someone who loves God and her husband. She wants to think rightly about what is happening in their lives. She is also looking in the right direction—the gospel—for help and hope.

God was clear and direct to Adam by stating that if he ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, he would most assuredly die (Genesis 2:16-17). We not only know the rest of the story, but because we were born “in Adam,” we are experiencing the rest of it in real and despairing ways.

The Gospel Proclaims

After Adam ate the fruit from the forbidden tree, there was a dramatic change in his body and soul. His immediate transformation was only part of the curse that humanity has experienced because of that blunder. He started a “death march” to his future grave while experiencing physical challenges, upheavals, and deterioration of his health (Genesis 3:18).

Physical suffering proclaims that we need the gospel. Only the good news of a Savior can bring a reversal of the death that we are living. Christ is the last Adam, and rather than submitting to the temptations of Satan (Matthew 4:1-11), He resisted so He could rescue you and me (1 John 3:8).

As you think about the gospel and physical suffering, I want you to reflect on these seven connections. If you enjoy writing, take the time to put your thoughts down. If you had rather talk to someone, connect with your friend, and discuss how the Spirit is motivating you. Some of you will want to communicate with those who are suffering. Perhaps sharing this resource with them will bring practical encouragement. (Check out all our articles.)

Rick's Books on Amazon

Seven Gospel Connections

  1. Gospel Implies – The clear implication of the gospel informs us that something is wrong. If nothing were broken, there would be no need for the gospel. It is a logical and accurate assumption that everyone will experience physical pain and suffering.
  2. Gospel Contains – Not all pain is equal. There are miscarriages and abortions. Young folks may die while others enter eternity after a long life. Some people smoke cigarettes most of their lives and die old, while others never smoke and die early. The curse is random, but nothing is outside the wisdom and permission of God.
  3. Gospel Beckons – Physical suffering is one of the louder testimonies that rises from the human soul, appealing to God for His gospel. Our daily physical deterioration bespeaks of our acute need for relief that can only be completely satisfied outside of ourselves (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)
  4. Gospel Helps – The gospel testifies back to us that help is not only present in the here and now but that there is favor awaiting us in some future day. When each believer steps into eternity, they will experience the fullness of the gospel at that time.
  5. Gospel Inspires – The gospel inspires us by reminding everyone that God is good, and He will finish what He started (Philippians 1:6). It is the gospel that gives us hope, even amid the brokenness of our lives. Hebrews 11 is one of the most painful but hope-filled chapters in the Bible. Those sufferers endured because of their future hope.
  6. Gospel Evangelizes – Our culture is floundering and angry because they do not have an answer to life’s problems. The Christian sufferer who understands the purposes and eternality of the gospel is hope-filled, which positions them to make a bold and compassionate statement to our society. The hope and help of the Christian sufferer have an evangelistic appeal.
  7. Gospel Empowers – Joni Tada is one of the more remarkable testimonies of the counter-intuitive power of the gospel. Her weakness is the container for God’s power to fill (2 Corinthians 4:7), as He is perfecting His strength in her physical disability (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Joni has been an inspiration to millions.

Call to Action

  1. Will you scroll through this article and highlight the verses that you see? You can hover your cursor over the selected scriptures, and they will pop up for you on your screen. Will you think, pray, and write a few thoughts in the context of this article?
  2. What are your thoughts about pain, fairness, and God’s goodness? In what ways do you need to address your thinking that is not in line with the gospel?
  3. How are you using your suffering to encourage other believers?
  4. What kind of evangelistic message do your lost friends and associates perceive from your suffering and your relationship with God?

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Need More Help?

  1. If you want to learn more from us, you may search this site for thousands of resources—articles, podcasts, videos, graphics, and more. Please spend time studying the ones that interest you. They are free.
  2. If you want to talk to us, we have private forums for those who support this ministry financially. Please consider supporting us here if you would like to help us keep our resources free.

Mastermind Program Web Ready Banner

Print Friendly, PDF & Email