555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

386. Is Trouble Sent As a Punishment?

The Bible does not teach that all trouble comes from God as a punishment. It recognizes the fact that trouble is in the world, and, while it has some very definite things to say about it, it does not attempt to give a complete solution of the whole problem. Hebrews 12:5-11 declares that God does in some instances, discipline or "chasten," those whom he loves, but this could hardly be called punishment. (See also Deu. 8:5; Ps. 94:12; John 15:2.) Sometimes, however, calamity is a definite punishment, as in many cases during the history of Israel, and particularly in their exile. The book of Job is a beautiful explanation of a form of suffering which has the double purpose of disciplining the soul and glorifying God. Nothing can bring such credit to God as the demonstration made by a soul that trusts and praises him in the midst of misfortune. Paul and the other apostles glorified in their opportunities to suffer for Jesus' sake. They rejoiced "that they were counted worthy to suffer shame in his name" (Acts 5-41). They felt that he had borne so much for them that they wanted to bear something for him. The Bible nowhere encourages people to dodge suffering; it exhorts them to bear it, while at the same time it exhorts them to lessen the sufferings of others, and help them bear their woes. See James 12-5; I Pet. 4:12-19; Gal. 6:2.