Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This sermons takes a look at the age old question "Why do bad things happen to good people?"

For the last time, at least in human history, the mother and father kissed the little clubfeet of their infant child and caressed his blue-black lips and rubbed his cherub cheeks.

God’s time had come. Their son Gabriel had left them in the wee hours of the morning, on the day before he would have been 6 months old. They thought they would be ready.

In a way, they were. Because they had seen it before. In late 1998, doctors diagnosed Guthrie’s newborn daughter, Hope, with Zellweger syndrome, a rare congenital disorder, and gave Hope less than six months to live. After Hope’s death, Guthrie’s husband had a vasectomy to prevent future pregnancies. They said they just couldn’t endure this type of pain and suffering again. Thus they were shocked to learn, a year and a half later, that Nancy was pregnant again. Although there was only a 25% chance that the baby would carry the disease, they soon discovered that this child, a son, would also be a Zellweger baby. And like Hope before him, Gabriel went home to be with the Lord at the tender age of 6 months. In her book, Holding On to Hope, Nancy Guthrie tells about her tragic story and she asks a question that many of us would ask if we were in her shoes. The question: Why God? Why?

Have you been there? Perhaps you are among those who have struggled to comprehend a particular heartache and God’s reason for allowing it. A thousand unanswered questions have been recycling in your mind — most of them beginning with the word, "Why?"

You want desperately to trust the Father and believe in His grace and goodness. But deep inside, you’re held captive by a sense of betrayal and abandonment. The Lord obviously permitted your difficulties to occur. Why didn’t He prevent them — and why has He not attempted to explain or apologize for them? The inability to answer those fundamental questions has become a spiritual barrier a mile high, and you can’t seem to find a way around or over it.

C.S. Lewis in his book “The Problem of Pain” posed this dilemma. “If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were Almighty He would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.” “This,” he says, “is the problem of pain.”

Why does God allow suffering in this world? I believe this is a question we all have asked at one time or another in our lives because we all have suffered at one point in our lives.

The bible makes it clear that suffering is a part of our existence. Job said, “Man is born to trouble just as surely as the sparks fly upward.” Jesus Himself said that “in this world you would have trouble.” From the beginning, suffering has been a part of our fallen, contaminated world. Just after Adam and Eve disobeyed God and had eaten of the forbidden fruit, God said to Eve, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.”

A man walked proudly into the delivery room after his wife had just gave birth to twins. He was proud and thought he had done something great, but when he saw her she spoke only two words, “Never again!” Everyone of us is here because someone else suffered to bring us into this world. Now we can reduce that suffering, but we can’t eliminate it.

Man was also told he would suffer. We are told that the ground would be cursed and in suffering we will toil. That means that every time we sit down to a meal, we do so because somebody else suffered to bring it to us.

Suffering is a part of our world, and it effects both Christians and non-Christians. God does not shelter us from every trouble that comes our way.

So suffering exist, and we are not sheltered from it, yet the question still remains, why do innocent people suffer? Let me say this…there is no pat answer for this. There is no one verse I could point you to that would say, this is why we suffer. As a whole the bible gives us insight to this question, but not one verse.

And in addition, we must acknowledge that there are reasons and actions that God does that is simply beyond our comprehension. When Job questioned God, God came back and answered basically by saying, “Where were you when I made the world, how is it kept together.” And Job had to sit back and awe and admit that he did not understand all that God does or why He does the things He does.

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