For those who love God, all things work unto good, for those called according to his purpose. (Romans [8:28])
We seldom know the micro reasons for our sufferings, but the Bible does give us faith-sustaining macro reasons.
It is good to have a way to remember some of these so that when we are suddenly afflicted, or have a chance to help others in their affliction, we can recall some of the truths God has given us to help us not lose hope.
Here is one way to remember: 5 R’s (or if it helps, just pick three and try to remember them).
The macro purposes of God in our sufferings include:
Repentance: Suffering is a call for us and others to turn from treasuring anything on earth above God. Luke 13:4–5:
. . . Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Reliance: Suffering is a call to trust God and not the life-sustaining props of the world. 2 Corinthians 1:8–9:
We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
Written by John Piper
Read more at Desiring God