Summary: People who are critical when Christians suffer
WHY DO CHRISTIANS SUFFER?
Message # 4
THE CRITICS IN YOUR SUFFERING
Introduction: I am going to repeat a statement I have made in each of the messages thus far. Suffering is a universal fact. Many people suffer throughout the world. If I were to deal with this subject from that point of view, I would probably be making a political statement instead of a Bible message. I am dealing with Christians and thus preaching to help them.
I hate to see someone or something suffer. We had to put our dog asleep a couple years ago because she was suffering. It was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life. But we could not allow her to continue to suffer.
There are times we can help the ones who are suffering. As a nurse in the nursing home, I try to help the residents that are suffering from pain to be eased of their pain. I try to make their last days as comfortable as possible.
I don’t think I have mentioned the fact that some people enjoy suffering. Or rather I should say, that they enjoy the attention that they get from others because they are suffering.
Suffering in the Christian’s life may be God working in that life. When we love God, keep His word and do His will and are still suffering, then the situation in His control and plan. I am glad that I have a God that relate to my suffering because He suffered. Hebrews 4:15
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
As Carl’s dad preached so well in that message “The Sympathetic Saviour, our Saviour knows our pain and suffering because of His pain and suffering.
Too many Christian people have pat answers for situations. They may or may not use the Bible as their answers. I was reading a sermon on this subject and ran across some interesting observations. Let me include them in this introduction.
· “God knows best!” Well, yes, He does. But at the moment, it sure doesn’t seem that way. Tell a 5-year-old child that God knows best when her mommy has just died of inoperable cancer. It seems like God just made a huge mistake.
· “God only gives you as much pain as you can handle.” That may be theologically correct. But it makes you wish you were a weaker person. Maybe God wouldn’t give you so much pain to bear.
· “She is in heaven now.” Yes, if she was a believer that is true. But couldn’t heaven have waited a while? What was their hurry up there? We needed her so much down here.
· “God will take care of those children.” When a young mother died, leaving three small children behind, I remember my expressing great concern for those children. A Christian believer simply said, “Those kids are just as much in God’s hands now as they were when their mother was alive.” Yes! I know, I prayed for them. But oh, how they suffered!
Some people come up with responses that aren’t very theological at all:
· “Well, God must have needed him up there in heaven to help him out.” Why? Did God run out of angels? Of all the people in the world, why my mother? Why my little brother? What’s God’s problem?
· “Your Mother is up there in heaven smiling down on you, right now.” Well, it might be a nice idea, but it has absolutely no Biblical support. We have support for God smiling upon those who love Him, but the Bible says nothing about dead people smiling down upon us from heaven.
· “When a person dies, God put a special star in the sky. When you go out at night and look up and see the stars, one of those is Uncle Harry just twinkling away at us.” Where on earth did we get an idea like that? Let’s not get into strange, extra-Biblical notions that end up being more of a problem than help.
Job had three friends. They had heard the rumors of all that had occurred with Job. I sometimes wonder if it was compassion or curiosity that brought these men to Job. I will say this. They used good reasoning when they first showed up. Our text tells us that they did not say a word for a whole week. You can tell that they were not Baptist preachers. Most Baptist preachers see the need to comment almost immediately on every subject.
Then they started up on Job. I will be looking them in the message today. One person said this about Job’s friends. With friends like this, you don’t need any enemies.