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Summary: In this sermon we discuss why God allows suffering in the life of a believer.

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Why God allows suffering in our lives

James 1

Trials and Temptations

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.—New International Version

Why God allows suffering in our lives

I. God allows suffering in our lives to teach us we exist for His glory. If we are blessed it is for God’s glory and if we suffer it is also for His glory.

The following is a passage of scripture that once caused a spiritual crisis in my life. I want to share it in today’s message because out of it I see a deeper reason as to why God allows suffering.

Ezekiel 24

Ezekiel’s Wife Dies

15 The word of the LORD came to me: 16 "Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. 17 Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food of mourners ."

18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded.

19 Then the people asked me, "Won’t you tell us what these things have to do with us?"

20 So I said to them, "The word of the LORD came to me: 21 Say to the house of Israel, ’This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to desecrate my sanctuary-the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection. The sons and daughters you left behind will fall by the sword. 22 And you will do as I have done. You will not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food of mourners .

23 You will keep your turbans on your heads and your sandals on your feet. You will not mourn or weep but will waste away because of [1] your sins and groan among yourselves. 24 Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD .’ ---New International Version

I have to confess that when I first came across this passage of scripture it created a crisis of faith in my life. Why would a loving God cause a man’s wife to die just to prove a spiritual point?

It seemed unjust. Then I looked at Ezekiel 24:24:

"When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD."

It is in our suffering that we can begin to trust in the sovereignty of God. All of our lives belong to God and that we ultimately exist for His glory. God had a reason for taking the wife of Ezekiel and it isn’t for us to understand. What we can, however, believe that whenever God does something He will be glorified in it!

Some other verses to consider:

Isaiah 48

9 For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath;

for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you,

so as not to cut you off.

(Whatever God does is for His ultimate glory!)

Isaiah 55

8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,"

declares the Lord .

9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

To examine another purpose in our suffering lets look again at James 1:2-4

II. God allows suffering into our lives to grow us.

James 1

Trials and Temptations

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

a. Suffering brings testing

The Greek word used here for testing is dokimion which means “proved genuineness.”

Origin of the word Sincere

The meaning of the word "sincere" comes from the pottery shops of the first century. It is the fine china that is able to stand the test in the sunshine without any cracks or flaws that have been covered up with pearly white wax. The two Latin words from which we get the English word "sincere" means "without wax." Sine meaning (without) and cera (wax) give us the meaning without wax.

The potters would trick the customers by filling in cracks with pearly white wax. Inside the dark shops the customers couldn’t see the wax in the cracks. They would go outside the shop and hold up the plate before the sun and would immediately discern if there was a dark seam revealing wax filling in the cracks. To be sincere is to be without any tricks of the trade designed to deceive the eye. Honest pottery dealers proudly heralded a perfect piece of porcelain with the words sine cera (without wax). Likewise, God brings trials into our lives to test the genuineness of our faith.

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