Yet there is a serious error in some churches, Bible study materials, and personal belief systems when the naive claim is made that true faith delivers one from suffering. Really? Then I wonder why it didn't keep innocent Naboth from being stoned to death when wicked King Ahab decided to seize his land? How could Stephen have been murdered for bearing witness to Jesus? How could an assassin’s bullet take the life of Martin Luther King? Why are babies born with defects or innocent children become victims of predators?
God allows suffering, but he is not the one who causes it and sends it into our lives. We experience pain because we live in physical bodies in a contingent world. We suffer emotional pain because we are sensitive to misfortune, loss, and injustice. And the most horrible wounds that come to our spirits are traceable to our own wrong choices — rebelling against God and doing horrible things to one another.
Faith is not a vaccine against these things. If it were, everyone would be a Christian for the worst possible reason! It would indulge our selfishness. It would exempt us from the tough things “those other people” have to face in this life. More correctly, faith is a relationship with God that provides the daily presence, strength, and encouragement of the Living Christ for whatever comes your way. It doesn’t exempt you, but it does sustain you.
Are miracles real? Does God still deliver people from their suffering by clear and direct intervention? Certainly. But miracles are by definition rare and out of the ordinary. So I'm suspicious of the person who offers to make the uncommon and infrequent into on-demand events.
Pray for pain to be a bridge rather than a barrier for you. Never feel obliged to deny its reality or menace. But trust God to provide sufficient grace for each day. Give him the chance to turn Satan’s attempt to destroy your faith into a solid spiritual victory.