Summary: A sermon examining the reason that God's children face suffering, trials and tribulations in this life.
Understanding Christian Suffering
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A Charlotte, North Carolina, pastor and his wife have been hit by unthinkable tragedy, losing their 2-year-old son and newborn child in just matter of days. Gentry and Hadley Eddings were driving home to Charlotte as part of a caravan on Saturday when a truck struck the vehicle transporting Hadley and the couple’s son, Dobbs. Hadley Eddings, was eight months pregnant, (and she) survived, but needed an emergency C-section. Dobbs (their oldest son) did not survive the crash, and the newborn baby, Reed, was ultimately declared dead.David Chadwick, the senior pastor at Forest Hill Church, delivered the tragic news to church members on Tuesday:He stated that: “Gentry and Hadley are beloved by us all…He is a man of enormous integrity. They both possess a deep faith. But it will be challenged in the days and weeks to come like no other time.”The couple is now leaning on their faith and prayers to get them through what will certainly be the most trying period in their lives.(Source:http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/05/26/charlotte-pastor-wife-lose-newborn-child-days-after-their-2-year-old-son-died-in-tragic-crash/)
In the comments section of this article someone asked the question "How could a loving God allow this to happen to one of His own servants?" To that I would say... the same way He allowed His only Son to go to a rugged cross and die for the sins of the world. But WHY is a question that has persisted throughout the ages.One that most likely each person here has asked at one time or another.... "Why do bad things happen to good people"? My favorite answer to that question comes for J. Vernon McGee. Someone wrote to him and asked that question and his response was " The answer is simple, there are no good people. For the Bible tells us in Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Perhaps a better way to ask the question would be "why do the righteous suffer?" That is the question that was asked of C.S. Lewis, He replied "Why not?... They're the only ones who can take it." Suffering is covered extensively in the Bible. The Book of Job spends 42 Chapters on the subject. Jeremiah, Lamentations, Habakkuk and other Old Testament books spend a great deal of time considering human suffering. We read in depth of the struggles that the Children of Israel faced in the wilderness. We read of their captivity and slavery. About 1/3 of the Psalms speak of doubt, frustration, disappointment and pain. In the New Testament we see the intense sufferings of our Savior. Jesus faced more pain and suffering than anyone in history. And if God would allow that to happen to His only Son, then why should we expect to be exempt? We also see the immense suffering in the lives of the Apostles of Christ. Many times they were arrested and they faced physical harm and even lost their lives as a result of their devotion to Christ. But these men found a way to rejoice in their persecution
Since the beginning of the Christian church, Christ's followers have suffered. As a result of their devotion to Christ many in the early church were Beaten, Exiled, Beheaded, Crucified, Stoned, Pierced with spears, Burned alive and faced many other violent forms of persecution. And there are born again children of God suffering and dying all over the world today. Though we may not have faced physical persecution or death, many of us here know about the "fiery trials" that Peter is speaking of in our selected text. This life is filled with trouble and the Christian may say " I am a child of God, why is this happening to me?" Many times I have heard people say, there is just no answer to that question! That is not the case! In fact there are several answers:
1. We live in a fallen creation. One of the consequences of man's sin in the Garden is the suffering that the entire world encounters.
2. Troubles and suffering also come as a result of sin in the life of the Christian. Our Father loves us enough to discipline and chastise us. If you look to the life of King David (A man after God's own heart) you will see great suffering as a result of his sinful choices and actions. If there is sin in your life, you can expect the same result.
3. Perhaps most common reason for suffering, is the fact that God is using suffering and trouble to strengthen your faith. And that is what I would like to consider today. I pray that you will be encouraged when you see just why you may be enduring troubles and suffering right now.