Summary: The God of the whirlwind took on human flesh and came to die on the cross. The mystery of suffering and sin should always take us to the Savior.
If God is So Good, Why Do I Hurt So Badly?
Rev. Brian Bill
April 27-28, 2019
Play video called, Questions.
We all have questions, don’t we? For the next four months, Lord willing, we’ll be addressing questions you’ve heard people ask. Sometimes inquiries are from those who don’t yet know Christ, and we wish we had better answers for them. Other times, we have our own questions.
BTW, I love how you live on mission! Over 1500 people attended our Easter services last weekend and a number indicated they repented and received Christ. Thank you for your willingness to sacrifice your preferred service time to make sure we had enough room for our guests. It’s been said the church is the only organization that exists for the benefit of its non-members…and you certainly lived this out! That’s the main reason we’ve entered this season of renovation and expansion. We’re asking God to grow our faith, our family and our future. Your willingness to give and to sacrifice your own preferences for the sake of those who aren’t here yet speaks volumes about how much you love Christ and lost people!
You submitted over 100 questions we’ve arranged into 18 different categories. I’m hoping this series spurs us on to do some additional study. We plan to add resources on “Sermon Extras” on a regular basis. We posted three this week - two are books and one is a free resource called, gotquestions.org where you can find over 500,000 Bible answers from a conservative evangelical perspective. There’s also a free mobile app available.
The topic we’re tackling today is the most commonly asked question about God – it’s been referred to as the “Achilles Heel” of Christianity. Some time ago, George Barna polled adults: “If you could ask God one question, what would you ask?” The top response was, “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?” I can’t think of anything more universal to the human experience than suffering. In fact, many people point to the problem of evil as their reason for not believing in God.
Answers can be elusive to this agonizing question. When I stopped for my senior coffee (stop laughing), at McDonald’s this week I saw a mom sitting at a table with a couple calendars open on the table in front of her. Additional papers and post-it-notes were piled up around her and she was holding her head. I told her it looked like she was trying to solve some really big problems. She said she was because she was trying to figure out her family calendar while balancing school and soccer schedules.
I remarked she was tackling something harder than my task. That got her attention, so she asked what I was working on and I told her I was simply trying to figure out why bad things happen. She smiled and said, “Good luck with that!” When she was preparing to leave, I asked if she had any insight for me. After all, I told her, “You’re a mom and moms know things.” As she walked away, she looked back and said, “I got nothin’.”
The good news is the Bible doesn’t have nothin’ when it comes to this topic, though the answer may not be what you’re expecting. If you’re not going through a hard time right now, just wait – you will. That’s the nature of living in a fallen world. Pain is guaranteed for anyone who takes on the task of living. Some of you are in the furnace of suffering right now. Others of you have just come out, and the rest of us will be there sooner or later because if you live long enough, you will suffer.
Going through tough times begs a couple questions, “If God is all-powerful and also good, then why is there so much pain and suffering?” “What have I done to deserve this kind of treatment?” “Why does God allow this to happen?” And so we wonder and wrestle while writhing in pain.
This is not just an intellectual issue to be packaged in a sermon: it’s an intensely emotional matter that can leave us with spiritual vertigo. One writer referred to the problem of pain as the “the question mark that turns like a fishhook in the human heart.”
These questions become very personal as evidenced by two that were submitted by the congregation:
• If God is a God of love, how can He watch while I suffer?
• Why does God take our loved ones before we’re ready to let them go? It hurts SO much!
The Bible doesn’t run away from questions like this. Listen to Psalm 10:1: “Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” and Habakkuk 1:2: “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?”