Summary: Maturely coming to grips with suffering requires moving from the "Why" level to a level of understanding the realities of suffering.
Text: 2 Cor. 12:7-10, And lest I should be exalted above measure through the
abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a
thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me,
lest I should be exalted above measure.
Intro: Suffering and life are
linked to each other,
There is a relationship of the maturity of our faith
and how we handle suffering.
When we are confronted with suffering, then
our faith in God and our relationship with him
Theme: Maturely coming to grips with suffering requires moving
from the "Why" level to a level of understanding the
realities of suffering.
A. God Allows Suffering To Take Place.
B. God Does Not Make Special Deals.
C. It Is Alright To Cry To God.
D. God Gives Grace To See Us Through.
II. God Allows Suffering To Take Place.
A. Paul conveys the nature of his suffering
1. a painful experience
2. happened after he had been caught up to the third heaven.
3. Why the pain?
a. not be exalted above measure
b. God’s grace is sufficient.
c. Scriptures were written for our learning.
B. Why does God allow suffering?
1. There is not a fully satisfactory answer
2. Truth is suffering is allowed to take place in our lives
a. illu: A certain minister’s grandmother grew up in Nazi
Germany. She saw Jews persecuted and placed
in concentration camps. She saw people disappear
from the streets because of the "nasties." She
lived through the horror of the fall of Berlin.
b. Quote: Someone asked C.S. Lewis, "Why do the righteous suffer?"
"Why not?" he replied. "They’re the only ones who can
III. God Does Not Make Special Deals.
A. Should the faithful Christian be exempt from suffering?
B. The examples of the Godly in the Bible:
1. Paul whom we have mentioned.
2. Job, Saul
3. O. T. curses for disobedience--
a. Deuteronomy 28:22 (KJV)
The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and
with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword,
and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
b. Dt. 28:22 (NLT) The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, fever, and
inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, and with blight and mildew.
These devastations will pursue you until you die.
4. N. T. Mark 1:30 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.
5. N. T. Acts 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of
a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands
on him, and healed him.
6. Quote: "Although the world is full of suffering,
it is also full of the overcoming of it.
Helen Keller quoted in: Barbara Rowes,
The book of Quotes, Dutton.
IV. It Is Alright To Cry To God.
A. Paul asked the Lord to take away his suffering.
1. not once, but three times
2. He pleaded to the Lord.
B. Samson asked vengence upon those who blinded him
( Judges 16:28 ).
C. Forget about keeping the so called "stiff upper lip."
1. Not true: "It is a testimony for me to suffer."
2. Forget "macho," call upon the Lord for endurance.
3. illu: Wilma didn’t get much of a head start in life.
A bout with polio left her left leg crooked and her foot
twisted inward so she had to wear leg braces.
After seven years of painful therapy, she could walk without her braces.
At age 12 Wilma tried out for a girls basketball team, but didn’t make it.
Determined, she practiced with a girlfriend and two boys every day.
The next year she made the team.
When a college track coach saw her during a game,
he talked her into letting him train her as a runner.
By age 14 she had outrun the fastest sprinters in the U.S.
In 1956 Wilma made the U.S. Olympic team, but showed poorly.
That bitter disappointment motivated her to work harder for the 1960 Olympics in Rome
--and there Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals, the most a woman had ever won.
Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, Jan, 1992, p.10.
V. God Gives Grace To See Us Through.
A. Throughout Scripture it can be seen that suffering
is an expected part of our lives.
1. James 5:10, Take, my brethren, the prophets,
who have spoken in the name of the Lord,
for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
2. 1 Peter 2:19-21, For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward
God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted