Summary: God has good reasons for what He does, and His answer to our suffering is NOT an explanation … it is Himself. God’s answers always come from His character ... and His character is unchanging!
Life Is Hard - but God Is Good
Why does God allow suffering?
God has good reasons for what He does, and His answer to our suffering is NOT an explanation … it is Himself.
• Psalm 34:8 says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
Losing my job at ENI back in the spring of 2002 was a huge disappointment to me. I couldn’t understand how I was going to support my family.
• As I talked with a friend, he reminded me of the truth of God’s character … He was with me and He was working for my good.
o Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I was able to remember the character of God … able to trust that indeed … He is Good.
(I’m kind of thirsty … excuse me … DRINK WATER)
Back at Christmas 2003, Alanna, our 5 year old daughter was admitted to hospital after having sunk to less than 20 lbs. Disappointment … that was a mild word to describe my emotions.
• If God was Good, why was He allowing Alanna to suffer?
o Hearing the doctor say she may not come home again … it was very hard to see God as being Good.
HAD GOD CHANGED?
• We asked the questions … WHY? HOW LONG? WHAT DID WE DO WRONG? I THOUGHT YOU LOVED ME GOD?
There are good reasons why people suffer
• All things fit together into a pattern for my good and God’s glory.
• Hardships force me to make decisions about God … they help me to be able to “taste and see” what God is like (DRINK WATER)
o Suffering sometimes is the instrument that God uses to teach us more about Himself
o Suffering is not for our torture; rather it is for our teaching! (GIVE WATER … cheers)
• Suffering makes us a lot more sensitive to people who are hurting.
But good reasons don’t always meet our need
• Sometimes the pain seems to outweigh even the best of benefits.
Illustration: Tonight, thousands of people in New Orleans will suffer. No food, no clean water, no hydro … no where to call home!
WHERE IS GOD IN THIS SUFFERING?
We are all willing to say that God performed a miracle when a plane in Toronto carrying some 300 passengers crashes into the ground and bursts into flames at Pearson Airport and everyone survives. We say … “GOD WAS HERE. GOD WAS GOOD”.
And if God never changes (like we learned a few weeks ago) IS GOD STILL GOOD WHEN A CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE SLAMS INTO NEW ORLEANS AND CAUSES THIS KIND OF DESTRUCTION?
GOD REMAINS GOOD. HE HAS NOT CHANGED. HE STILL ANSWERS PRAYER. HE STILL LOVES YOU. HE IS STILL SOVEREIGN. HE STILL HAS THE RIGHT. HE STILL CARES. HE STILL LOVES.
And He still wants us to share that with those who do not yet know Him.
Suffering hearts need a person, not an answer
• When we are suffering, we plead for our Father’s assurance that everything will be okay.
• God gives us something better than a list of answers; he gives us himself.
Suffering comes to lead us toward God
• God allows us to suffer so that nothing will come between him and us.