Summary: Seeing further why Christians suffer
WHY DO CHRISTIANS SUFFER?
CONSEQUENCES OF SUFFERING
Introduction: Many times we suffer. Suffering is universal. Some Christians think that they are immune to suffering simply because they are saved. God allows suffering in the child of God’s life. We looked at the causes of suffering previously.
We suffer at times because of physical reasons. I have seen much of this in my lifetime. Many times I have seen people suffering greatly from pain and I was unable to give them any relief from it completely.
There are countless Christians who are suffering at this very minute in this world because of poverty and persecution reasons. Even though we are not there at this time, we as Americans are not immune from the suffering. We have no and I repeat no promise from God that as Americans that we will not suffer from persecution or poverty.
Some suffer because of their parents. Some of the scars that parents leave on children are almost tragic. A girl may not ever trust a man because she was abused by her father in ways that I will not name from this pulpit.
Of course there is the personal reasons why we suffer. When we get into sin, we can expect to suffer.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
In the last message I made as the strongest point that we suffer at times for practical reasons. There were three man reasons for this. We suffer at times in order to help others. Remember the old song “Others”. This is just the chorus.
Others, Lord, yes, others,
Let this my motto be,
Help me to live for others,
That I may live like Thee.
We also suffer at times in order that we may receive in full the promises of God. We may not be able to get to them without suffering.
Lastly we suffer at times that we may rehearse the glory to God to others. How much greater are praises are when they come from the heart of gratitude after or even in the times of suffering?
Let me return quickly to stages that Christians go through in times of suffering. Many Christians get bogged down in the first four and five but don’t see the end with the sixth and seventh.
1. Shock (I cannot believe this is happening to me.)
2. Sorrowful questioning God (Lord, why did you allow this happen?)
3. Anger (Lord, this is not right.)
4. Fear (Lord, will it get worse?)
5. Despair (I will never recover.) This is the stage of self-pity that many fall into.
6. Searching (Lord, what lesson or benefit do You have for me through this suffering.)
7. Understanding (Yes, Lord, now I can see!)
If you don’t pass the fifth stage, I remind you that you will wallow in the pool of self-pity and will be of no use to anyone including yourself.
What happens when we suffer? What are the consequences of suffering? What do we become because of suffering? That is the purpose of this message. There are three consequences of suffering that I wish to explore today.
I. WE BECOME BITING AT TIMES WHEN WE SUFFER?
Even though it is natural to bite at some figuratively speaking when you are suffering, it is still wrong. Let me illustrate with an Old Testament character. He was suffering because of personal reasons. He was suffering because of sin. But it is still a good illustration.
When Ahab was king, God told Elijah to tell Ahab that was not going to rain for a period of years. As I was reading, I did not see an amount of time specified with Elijah’s announcement. Once Elijah makes this announcement, God tells him to go into hiding. God’s plan was for this period of time to last three and one half years. Why this amount of time was chosen is a question that only God knows the answer! It may be that God knew that it would take this long before almost ever resource would dry up and the people would be more receptive to Him.
At the end of these years Ahab is looking for grass for the animals to eat. Ahab is in deep trouble. His country is in dire straits. They are suffering greatly because of his sinful disobedience. He is suffering because the people are really blaming him. When a country has tough economical times, the people suffer. When the people suffer, they tend to blame it on the leaders of the country. When the leader or leaders suffer, they tend to bite figuratively speaking at anyone who is convenient. When Ahab hears back in town, he goes to where Elijah is. Then we see him biting at the prophet Elijah. 1st Kings 18:17-18