Sunday, 12 June 2011

Sunday Blessings - 10 Reasons to Believe in a God who Allows Suffering

I  greet  you on  Pentecost  Sunday. God  gave  me  the  opportunity to  share  in church  today. My  topic  was  10  reasons  to  believe  in a  God  who  allows  suffering. I took  my  sermon outline from  the Discovery  series  of  Radio Bible  Class and  I  have  shared the  main points  below.

The  problem of  suffering  is  as  old  as  Genesis  chapter 3.
What  I  find   so  problematic   about  suffering  is  the  experience  of pain itself - and  I have  suffered  it   most  of  my  life in  various  forms,  so   this  is  an  important  and  relevant  topic for  me  and   i  like  to  read,reflect,   contemplate  and  learn  about  it.
What  is  most  enigmatic  about  it   why one  person should  suffer so  much  for  no  obvious  reason, and  another  escape  unscathed. God 's  Word   does  not  necessarily  provide  glib   easy  answers  for  this puzzle.
On  the  other  side  of  eternity we  get   answers , but  it  won 't  matter  then.

10  Reasons  to  Believe  in a  God  Who  Allows  Suffering
from
www.rbc.org, Radio Bible Class Ministries


Natural disasters. Terrorist acts. Injustice. Incurable disease. All these experiences point to suffering, and can cause people to question the love and goodness of a God who would let such things occur. In this publication, we seek to consider who God is, and why we can trust Him even when life hurts—and we don’t know why


1.) Suffering Comes With The Freedom To Choose

Loving parents long to protect their children from unnecessary pain. But wise parents know the danger of over-protection. They know that the freedom to choose is at the heart of what it means to be human, and that a world without choice would be worse than a world without pain. Worse yet would be a world populated by people who could make wrong choices without feeling any pain. No one is more dangerous than the liar, thief, or killer who doesn't feel the harm he is doing to himself and to others (Genesis 2:15-17).

2.) Pain Can Warn Us Of Danger

We hate pain, especially in those we love. Yet without discomfort, the sick wouldn't go to a doctor. Worn-out bodies would get no rest. Criminals wouldn't fear the law. Children would laugh at correction. Without pangs of conscience, the daily dissatisfaction of boredom, or the empty longing for significance, people who are made to find satisfaction in an eternal Father would settle for far less. The example of Solomon, lured by pleasure and taught by his pain, shows us that even the wisest among us tend to drift from good and from God until arrested by the resulting pain of their own shortsighted choices (Ecclesiastes 1-12; Psalms 78:34-35; Romans 3:10-18).

3.) Suffering Reveals What Is In Our Hearts

Suffering often occurs at the hand of others. But it has a way of revealing what is in our own hearts. Capacities for love, mercy, anger, envy, and pride can lie dormant until awakened by circumstances. Strength and weakness of heart is found not when everything is going our way but when flames of suffering and temptation test the mettle of our character. As gold and silver are refined by fire, and as coal needs time and pressure to become a diamond, the human heart is revealed and developed by enduring the pressure and heat of time and circumstance. Strength of character is shown not when all is well with our world but in the presence of human pain and suffering (Job 42:1-17; Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-5; 1 Peter 1:6-8).

4.) Suffering Takes Us To The Edge Of Eternity

If death is the end of everything, then a life filled with suffering isn't fair. But if the end of this life brings us to the threshold of eternity, then the most fortunate people in the universe are those who discover, through suffering, that this life is not all we have to live for. Those who find themselves and their eternal God through suffering have not wasted their pain. They have let their poverty, grief, and hunger drive them to the Lord of eternity. They are the ones who will discover to their own unending joy why Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:1-12; Romans 8:18-19).

5.) Pain Loosens Our Grip On This Life

In time, our work and our opinions are sought less and less. Our bodies become increasingly worse for the wear. Gradually they succumb to inevitable obsolescence. Joints stiffen and ache. Eyes grow dim. Digestion slows. Sleep becomes difficult. Problems loom larger and larger while options narrow. Yet, if death is not the end but the threshold of a new day, then the curse of old age is also a blessing. Each new pain makes this world less inviting and the next life more appealing. In its own way, pain paves the way for a graceful departure ( Ecclesiastes 12:1-14).

6.) Suffering Gives Opportunity To Trust God

The most famous sufferer of all time was a man named Job. According to the Bible, Job lost his family to "a mighty wind," his wealth to war and fire, and his health to painful boils. Through it all, God never told Job why it was happening. As Job endured the accusations of his friends, heaven remained silent. When God finally did speak, He did not reveal that His archenemy Satan had challenged Job's motives for serving God. Neither did the Lord apologize for allowing Satan to test Job's devotion to God. Instead, God talked about mountain goats giving birth, young lions on the hunt, and ravens in the nest. He cited the behavior of the ostrich, the strength of the ox, and the stride of the horse. He cited the wonders of the heavens, the marvels of the sea, and the cycle of the seasons. Job was left to conclude that if God had the power and wisdom to create this physical universe, there was reason to trust that same God in times of suffering (Job 1-42).

7.) God Suffers With Us In Our Suffering

No one has suffered more than our Father in heaven. No one has paid more dearly for the allowance of sin into the world. No one has so continuously grieved over the pain of a race gone bad. No one has suffered like the One who paid for our sin in the crucified body of His own Son. No one has suffered more than the One who, when He stretched out His arms and died, showed us how much He loved us. It is this God who, in drawing us to Himself, asks us to trust Him when we are suffering and when our own loved ones cry out in our presence ( 1 Peter 2:21; 3:18; 4:1 ).

8.) God's Comfort Is Greater Than Our Suffering

The apostle Paul pleaded with the Lord to take away an unidentified source of suffering. But the Lord declined saying, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." "Therefore," said Paul, "most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Paul learned that he would rather be with Christ in suffering than without Christ in good health and pleasant circumstances.

9.) In Times Of Crisis, We Find One Another

No one would choose pain and suffering. But when there is no choice, there remains some consolation. Natural disasters and times of crisis have a way of bringing us together. Hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, riots, illnesses, and accidents all have a way of bringing us to our senses. Suddenly we remember our own mortality and that people are more important than things. We remember that we do need one another and that, above all, we need God. Each time we discover God's comfort in our own suffering, our capacity to help others is increased. This is what the apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" ( 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

10.) God Can Turn Suffering Around For Our Good

This truth is best seen in the many examples of the Bible. Through Job's suffering we see a man who not only came to a deeper understanding of God but who also became a source of encouragement for people in every generation to follow. Through the rejection, betrayal, enslavement, and wrongful imprisonment of a man named Joseph, we see someone who eventually was able to say to those who had hurt him, "You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good" ( Genesis 50:20). When everything in us screams at the heavens for allowing suffering, we have reason to look at the eternal outcome and joy of Jesus who in His own suffering on an executioner's cross cried, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" ( Matthew 27:46


These  photos  are  from our  trip  to  the  horticulture  fair in  the  last  week  of  February  with Ash, Megan, Sonia and  Abner.
They  appear fresh and  appealing  in  this  hot  dry  season.
Please pray for  me  I   have  some  sort  of  allergy  which  gives  me  sort of   boils  , I  am  suffering  with  them. Medicines  give  some  relief,  but  I  have  to   bear  the  pain and burning and   dress  my  wounds  myself. Many  people  develop  this  infection  during   the  summer. Could  be   the  pollution level.
Have  a  good  week.

15 Fertilize my soul:

Dani said...

Your post really spoke to me..thanks so much..and know I am praying for you..

David C Brown said...

We learn the sympathy of the Lord Jesus as our Great High Priest - and learn Him through the experience.

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
I know you are right, and even so it is difficult to accept.
I love the words of Paul; "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."
I guess I must be very strong without realizing it.
From Felisol

Mari said...

I am glad I could finally leave comments again! In times of pain we learn we need to be more dependent of God, that he watches over us and that blessings are soon to come. In times of difficulty we learn what truly is important in our lives and appreciate God's love and our family more. Many of the things we normally worry about.... that goes away, opening up more room for blessings.

Have a great week Amrita :)

Ash said...

Wow, just what I need to hear today. Thanks so much for sharing this Amrita.

John Cowart said...

Hi Amrita,

I think this is the best post you've ever written. Your wisdom grows.

Points 3 and 5 especially touched me where I live.

Thanks,
John

David said...

praying for you this day

Zim said...

I read it twice. When I will have more time (so it can be even in... August) maybe I will translate it to Polish language - can I do it? It is really worth to write about this difficult problem.

Julie said...

This really hit home for me today with my town and many towns here flooding, the tornadoes and earthquakes, my broken arm. Thanks for posting and I am praying your skin gets better soon.

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

Your words shared in this post is inspirational and poignant!!!

Thanks for commenting on my kitty paw post today!! Hope your week ahead treats you well. So far, the comment issue on my little corner of the world is working right now, so I'm taking advantage of the situation. :o)

Amrita said...

Dear Zim, you are most welcome to use these notes and translate them into Polish.

Hi HootinAnni, I am happy you visited and commented. I love you r blog.


Dear Julie, I hope your hand is healing well too.

My skin infection is some better - at least the pain and discomfort is down a bit. it will a few days to get rid of it.

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

I will definitely pray for your divine healing Amrita. By the stripes of Jesus you are healed. Amen. Nobody but a person who has undergone suffering can lucidly explain the rationale for suffering. The most fascinating reason for suffering is that God gives us comfort in times of our suffering so that we can likewise comfort those we will meet who are also suffering. We become God's instrument to bring comfort and joy to sufferers. Thanks for your most profound post. God bless you always.

Kathryn said...

Thank you for sharing this with us.

I hope your discomfort is eased and relieved soon.

Donetta said...

Good Morning
Oh how beautiful those flowers.
I do trust that your heart is well.
Thought of you this morning with fondness and affection.
I hope that your day brings many opportunities to smile.
Big Hug

Trish said...

What a blessing this post is to me.
Suffering teaches us to trust God.
Only he is worthy of our praise.
Blessings...