Summary: God allows suffering in our lives to bring us closer to Him.

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Rainbow Through The Rain – I Peter 3: 18 - 22

Intro: In Scotland in the 1800s there lived a man of great promise and potential. He was engaged to be married and suddenly was discovered to have a degenerative eye disease which eventually left him blind. His fiancée refused to marry him and his world seemed to be falling apart. --- George Matheson wrote the hymn, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.”

I. All of us experience storms in life for various reasons.

A. Sometimes we suffer because of poor choices we have made. We choose to not study and consequently, fail the test. We choose to eat whatever we want and suffer the consequences of illness. Our suffering in instances like these is self-inflicted.

B. Then there is suffering we didn’t choose. Accidents happen. Companies “down-size” and we are out of work. A car pulls out in front of you and you can’t stop. Depression commercial. “Who does depression hurt? Everyone.”

C. Even Jesus, the Son of God, suffered. Agony in the garden. The death on the cross for something he didn’t do.

II. The age-old question still plagues us today. Why is there suffering in the world?

A. This letter was written around 64 AD. Nero was the emperor of Rome who had taken it as his personal mission to exterminate the Christians.

B. Christians were fed to the lions in the Colosseum, rolled in wax, impaled on stakes and set on fire to light Nero’s rose garden at night.

C. Our suffering pales in comparison; however, that does not make it any less real to us.

III. When the unfortunate comes our way and we begin to suffer we just want to know why. Why me?

A. The answer is found in Vs. 18 – “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”

B. Peter goes on to talk about the people at the time of Noah and how God patiently waited for the people to turn to him. But only 8 survived the suffering because they trusted God and did as God commanded.

C. Building the ark was not an easy task. Noah faced ridicule and harassment; but, he did what God asked even in the midst of the suffering. The suffering didn’t end with the completion of the ark. But, still Noah was faithful.

Conclu: George Matheson’s hymn is one of my favorites. These are the words.

O love that will not let me go

I rest my weary soul in Thee;

I give Thee back the life I owe,

That in Thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be.

O joy that seekest me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to Thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

And feel the promise is not vain

That morn shall tearless be.

My very favorite line in that hymn is I trace the rainbow through the rain because it speaks of the beauty of hope in God through the storms of life.

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