Summary: This is part of a series I did on topics my congregation requested. Several of these messages are two parts.
YOU ASKED FOR IT
IF GOD IS SO GOOD WHY DO I FEEL SO BAD? Pt.2
Sunday May 14, 2006
Scripture Reference: 1 Peter 4:12-19
A. Today we are going to finish our look at this very important subject of suffering especially as it relates to suffering in the lives of Christians. Since it has been two weeks since we talked about this let’s take a moment to review what we have learned so far.
1. The first thing I told you was that we ought not to be surprised when we suffer, even when we suffer as Christians. The scripture text we are using makes this point very clear. What more can Peter say than to tells us, “Why are you surprised when you encounter trouble?” The obvious point Peter is making is that suffering in the lives of Christians, even when they are doing everything right is normal. In fact we can take that a step further to say that if we are not suffering then something may well be wrong.
2. We also learned that most of us are living under a false premise when it comes to the issue of suffering in our lives. The first of those is that if we are living good lives, if we are doing all the things we feel we are supposed to be doing then we ought not to suffer. Another false premise is that if we do suffer it ought not to be for any extended period of time. Our suffering ought to be short lived. Another false premise is that suffering is the result of doing something wrong that made God angry with us. If we suffer it must be because of sin in our lives, but Peter tells us in these verse we read that we should rejoice if we suffer for doing good not for doing wrong. Another terribly wrong premise about suffering is that I must be suffering because I lack faith. If I just had more faith then I would be healed. If I had more faith I would have more money and on it goes.
3. Another truth we learned is that God did not create suffering. The suffering we experience today whether it is from natural things such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or diseases, or if it is the suffering that comes from moral evil, poor decisions or choices in our lives are the result of our forefathers, Adam and Eve and the choice they made in the Garden of Eden. The key here even or us today is to realize that this was not the world God created but the world that exists because God chose to create people with a free will and that free will opened the door for the suffering that now takes place.
Trans. What we want to do today as we conclude our look at suffering is to see the good that can come from the suffering we now experience and also to know what our long term outlook towards suffering ought to be. So let’s explore first the purpose of suffering.
I. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF OUR SUFFERING?
I think that honesty for most of us we would draw the conclude that most of the time we cannot see any purpose in the suffering we go through. This is intensified even more if we feel we are not deserving of any suffering. If we are living our lives the way we are supposed to and then we are stricken with cancer or we lose our job I think most of us would say, “I see no purpose in this.” “What good is my life to God if I am weakened by chemotherapy or if I have no money because I lost my job?” What do I do with scriptures like Jeremiah 29:11 that tell me that God knows the plans He has for my life, plans to prosper me and not to harm me? If that scripture is true then there is a plan in this trouble I am going through, so what is it? The first thing I will tell you is that not all God’s blessings come wrapped in beautiful packages.
A. Not All God’s Blessing Come In Beautiful Packages.
1. I love these words from Joni Eareckson Tada, “Every sorrow we taste will one day prove to be the best possible thing that could have happened. We will thank God endlessly in heaven for the trials He sent us here. This is not Disneyland – this is truth.” Now that is powerful stuff coming from the life of someone who understands what it means to suffer in this life. When we think of blessing we naturally think of good things. When we pray for someones life to be blessed we are surtely not praying for them to get sick or lose their job, of have one of their children run away from home are we? Of course not, but this is because we think that every blessing comes beautifully wrapped but suffering shows us otherwise.