Jared Wilson, in Gospel Deeps, writes that “while we may not be satisfied with what God has revealed about his purposes in suffering, we cannot justifiably say he has not revealed anything about his purposes in suffering. We may not have the answer we are laboring for, but we do have a wealth of answers that lie in the same field.”
Here’s an outline of ten reasons he identifies in God’s Word:
- To remind us that the world is broken and groans for redemption [Rom. 8:20-23].
- To do justice in response to Adam’s (and our) sin.
- To remind us of the severity of the impact of Adam’s (and our) sin.
- To keep us dependent on God [Heb. 12:6-7].
- So that we will long more for heaven and less for the world.
- To make us more like Christ, the suffering servant [Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 1:5, 4:11].
- To awaken the lost to their need for God [Ps. 119:67, 71].
- To make the bliss of heaven more sweet [Rom. 8:18; 1 Pet. 4:13; Ps. 126:5; Isa. 61:3].
- So that Christ will get the glory in being our strength [John 9:3; 2 Cor. 4:7].
- And so that, thereby, others see that he is our treasure, and not ourselves [2 Cor. 4:8-9].
See Jared C. Wilson, Gospel Deeps: Reveling in the Excellencies of Jesus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012), pp. 114-120 for an elaboration of each point.