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"Why Does a Merciful and Loving God Allow Suffering?"-Case for Faith Series

(63)

Sermon shared by Greg Buchner

March 2005
Summary: God doesn’t cause suffering. But in the midst of our doubt surrounding suffering, God uses those experiences to our benefit.
Denomination: Methodist
Audience: General adults
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can’t see now will last forever.” (The Message) – II Corinthians 4:16-18

THE DISCIPLE’S ANSWER to suffering, is that while it is most difficult, it can help us learn to help others in this day, as we look forward to the promise we have of tomorrow.
But that still doesn’t answer the whole question.


III. The Unknown answer – Job 1:6-22 & Psalm 73

Having given you these two possibilities, the theological answer and the disciple’s answer, let me offer a third that may not sit well with some of us. Some suffering seemingly has no rhyme or reason. It’s not caused by another person’s sin or our own. We’re not perfected in our faith by it. It’s just tragic and no explanation will do. The category doesn’t fit neatly into any box.

This morning we heard the story of Job who God himself called the most righteous man of his entire generation. In the story God allowed Job to lose all his sons and daughter in a tornado, all of his herds which today would be the equivalent of your life’s savings. Job remained committed to God though it all. A short time later, God allowed Job to suffer from a horrible disease of oozing sores. It was so bad that Job was disfigured and his friends didn’t recognize him. Job remained committed to God, but he started asking a question: Why?

In fact, most of the book is a dialogue between Job and his friends who are quite convinced that he’s done something to deserve the tragedy that’s befallen him. Finally, God interrupts and tells Job’s friends that they’re wrong. Job hadn’t sinned. Interestingly, God never answered the "Why?" question either. For 42 chapters, we hold our breath waiting, but the answer never comes.

I mention this story to let you know that there’s not always going to be an answer to our suffering - at least not in this life. When you stand by people who undergo suffering beware of offering pat answers. When you endure it, don’t expect to know why. You may not be able to figure it out.

The Psalmist spoke of this unknown answer when he penned the 73rd Psalm…

“For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning…Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in mind… Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel…it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God that I may declare all Your works.” – Psalm 73:14, 21, 23, 28

EVEN THOUGH WE DON’T have the answer, we still put our trust in the Lord.


Conclusion - How do we respond to the doubt of suffering?- Romans 5:3-4

Which leaves us with probably the most difficult question remaining…How do we respond to suffering.

The answer is found in Romans 5:3-4 – “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance [our attitudes]; perseverance, character [deepening out faith]; and character, hope. [living in faith until knowledge comes.]” (NIV)

It’s that doubt to faith to knowledge thing once again…

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Comments and Shared Ideas
David Cook of Fba
April 13, 2009
Good insights in this sermon on why God allows suffering. Thank you!
Thanks David. God's blessings on your ministry.

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