Summary: Sometimes God is teaching us through suffering.
VIII. PRACTICAL LESSON FROM PICTURES OF PAIN
A. Not Comfortable -- Conformable
B. The Battles of Life Are Not Easy.
C. We Need Patience
D. Times of Travail Can Be Times of Birth
E. The Storms are Frightening
F. Yield to the Pruning.
IX. THE GOD WHO CARES
Judges 6:13 -- Gideon -- Why?
A. If you were God, how would you go about convincing people that you really cared about them
and for them?
Perhaps the most difficult situations a pastor must deal with are the death of a child and the
suicide of a young person. Ex: Poem -- Faith and Hope
What is true of the baby's death and the youth's suicide is true of the world; we only make
matters worse by speculating. Since this is the world that God made, I have to believe that
He knew what He was doing.
B. The Absence of Pain -- might make it easier to sin.
C. The Vain Promise
"If the Lord brings me through this, I'll be the best person you've ever seen."
D. God shows that He cares for us:
1. By providing for us.
2. By His providential working: Ephesians 1:11 No luck or fate -- Providence
3. By speaking to us
a. Read His Word
b. Listen for His Voice
4. By taking our cares I Peter 5:7 Cast all on Him
a. He gives the courage to face life honestly.
b. He gives wisdom to understand what needs to be done.
c. He gives strength to do what He wants you to do.
d. He gives the faith to be patient while He works out His perfect will in your life.
X. THE GOD WHO SUFFERS
A. The Cross Before Christ
1. Despicable symbol of suffering
2. Reserved for the vilest offenders
3. No songs
B. The Cross After Christ
1. Symbol of victory and glory Gal. 6:14
2. Reconciliation of God and man Rom. 5:10
3. Preaching of cross is power I Cor. 1:18
4. Peace through the blood of His cross Col. 1:20
5. He endured the cross Heb. 12:2
C. Jesus didn't explain suffering, but rather experienced it.
D. The Cross Teaches Us:
1. Suffering and love are not incompatible. I John 4:10
2. Suffering is not always punishment for sins. I Peter 2:22-24
3. Suffering can accomplish purposes for others. Matthew 1:21
4. Suffering in God's will always leads to glory. Bear and wear
the cross, the crown.
5. Suffering demands that we surrender to God.
XI. WHEN LIFE FALLS APART, HOW DO YOU PRAY?
It has been my experience as a pastor that unanswered prayers in times of suffering
have caused more people to doubt God's power and goodness than perhaps any
A. The purpose of prayer is not to get man's will done in heaven, but to get God's
will done on earth.
B. We Can Pray To Escape Suffering -- normal response
1. Paul did - thorn - thrice II Cor. 12:7-9
2. Jesus did - this cup
C. We Can Pray To Endure Suffering
1. Not everybody possesses that kind of inner strength
2. Inner strength is quickly used up
3. It tends to glorify man instead of God. We are proud of our strength and courage.
4. Can lead to hypocrisy - "good front"
D. Suffering Must Become Your Servant
1. We must accept our suffering
2. We must surrender what He has given back to Him.
3. We must listen for His message.
E. Suffering Builds Character
"If afflictions refine some, they consume other," Thomas Fuller - Puritan preacher
Reputation is what you think I am, but character is what God and I know I am.
Whatever else a person may have, if he doesn't have character, he has nothing.
A. Building Character
1. Suffering cannot produce character by itself
2. Our attitude must be one of growth
a. What happens around us is often beyond our control
3. God's character building course
a. tribulations or sufferings
b. patience or perseverance
c. experience or proven character *
d, hope (proof of genuineness, trust worthiness)
Tribulations (Greek) = pressures, restrictions, confinement, being pressed together
It describes outward troubles or inward anguish. The word was used to describe
crushing the grapes and the olives in presses.
B. God's Provisions
1. Peace with God Romans 5:1
3. The Love of God Romans 5:5