February 23, 2020 Why We Suffer

Why We Suffer

Brian Simko

Why Bad Things Happen

 

We are lost and God is allowing bad things to happen to drive us to him for salvation.

To turn us back to Him.

We play the fool.

Punishment for sin.

To humble us.

To test our faith.

To learn about ourselves.

To grow us.

To be an example for others.

So we will call to Him.

Taking a stand for righteousness

You are not waiting on Him. He has to slow you down.

To endure to the end.

 

 

We are lost and God is allowing bad things to happen to drive us to him for salvation:

Often times, we want to rely on our own understanding, talents, resources, intelligence, theories etc.; to make it through life. But it is when all of those things seem to have fallen short and we are broken, desperate and hopeless; it is when we see no cure, no end to our suffering, that unbelievers finally turn to God and backslidden believers return to God.

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 Yes, even God suffers. Longsuffering is one of His attributes.

Psalm 95:10 NKJV 10 For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.'

 

To bring us back to him:

God wants a relationship with us; to be a father to his children. That's why He created us. It's hard to be a father to a child that is far from you-- so he allows Satan to oppress you until you return to Him. Like The Prodigal Son in Luke 15--He did what he thought was best for him in his own eyes, and when he had ruined himself, he returned to his father.

Jesus has a duty

John 6:37-39 NKJV 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.

Judges 6:1-6 NKJV 1 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, 2 and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made for themselves the dens, the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains. 3 So it was, whenever Israel had sown, Midianites would come up; also Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. 4 Then they would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, coming in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were without number; and they would enter the land to destroy it. 6 So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.

2 Chronicles 30:7 NKJV 7 And do not be like your fathers and your brethren, who trespassed against the Lord God of their fathers, so that He gave them up to desolation, as you see. 8 Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you. 9 For if you return to the Lord, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him."

 

Punishment for sin:

Punishment for sin often plays a part in the other reasons we suffer.

Galatians 6:7 NKJV 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

Proverbs 3:12 NKJV 12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

Jeremiah 5:19 NKJV And it will be when you say, 'Why does the Lord our God do all these things to us?' then you shall answer them, 'Just as you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve aliens in a land that is not yours.'

Psalm 7: 11-13 NKJV 11 God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day. 12 If he [the wicked] does not turn back, He [God] will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. 13 He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.

 

We play the fool:

We can cause ourselves hardships by being foolish. Like when I thought I could jump the creek and clear the water-- well... I didn't make it; so I had to endure wet pants for a few hours after that. If you pick a fight and lose. Don't pay your taxes. Gamble. You get diabetes because you drink soda all day and Polish off a package of cookies every night, etc.

 

To humble us:

The more blessed we are the more we may need to be humbled. If we are a lot better at something than everyone else is, it can go to our head. Muhammad Ali was far from humble. I can be pretty smart at times, but my memory is terrible. I think the thorn God gave me is a bad memory; to keep me humble. Arrogance is off-putting for people and it hurts our testimony. The wrong kind of pride is sin-- God hates even a proud look it says in Proverbs 6:17 NKJV .

Proverbs 21:4 NKJV 4 A haughty look, a proud heart, And the plowing of the wicked are sin.

Paul's thorn-- Corinthians 12:7 NKJV 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Is it likely that God allowed Satan to attack the church in Corinth just to achieve something in Paul? To humble Paul?

 

To test our faith:

We really don't know how strong our faith is until it has been tested. Much like an athlete doesn't know how he ranks with other athletes until he competes against them. We like to think we know how we would act in a given situation, but we can't know for sure until we are placed in that situation and the metal of our faith is revealed. Peter is a perfect example.

Matthew 26:29-35 NKJV 31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' 32 But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee." 33 Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble." 34 Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." 35 Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And so said all the disciples.

Genesis 22:1 NKJV 1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." 2 Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

Hebrews 11:17 NKJV 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

Gideon's faith was tested when God told him to go against 135,000 men with his army of 300.

 

To learn about ourselves:

God allows our deep pain to reveal our character, our spiritual condition. We can learn a lot about ourselves when we suffer.

 

To grow us and make us more useful:

Our suffering allows us to relate to others. And to help others. It makes us far more effective and useful to God when we can connect with the hurting.

To develop us. Romans 5:3-4 NKJV And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply." God actually rises up storms of conflict in relationships at times in order to accomplish that deeper work in our character. We cannot love our enemies in our own strength. This is graduate-level grace. Are you willing to enter this school? Are you willing to take the test? If you pass, you can expect to be elevated to a new level in the Kingdom. For He brings us through these tests as preparation for greater use in the Kingdom. You must pass the test first.” A.W. Tozer

Unbroken men are like unbroken horses. No one can ride them, and not even God can use such people. If He must ride, then such men must be broken first.

31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." Luke 22:31 NKJV

To be an example:

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead STILL SPEAKS.

JOB 1:1-3 NKJV 1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. 2 And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. 3 Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the Lord said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the Lord and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." 8 Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" 9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" 12 And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. 13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house; 14 and a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 when the Sabeans raided them and took them away--indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" 16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" 17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" 18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, 19 and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" 20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord." 22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the Lord and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." 3 Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause." 4 So Satan answered the Lord and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" 6 And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life." 7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. 9 Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!" 10 But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Then Job's friends come to comfort him.

Though Job's comforters accuse him of sin, and though he himself expresses doubts about God, he maintains his faith throughout intense suffering. In the end, Job acknowledges the sovereignty of God in every aspect of life. In essence, Jobs legacy teaches us that the solution to our disappointments is not found in answering the question, why? It is found in trusting God in the midst of our whys. Legacy Study Bible.

Job's faith was real! I believe he suffered for our benefit. To show us how unyielding true faith really is.

God restored Job's wealth. And he had twice as much as before.

 

So we will call on Him:

Sometimes he allows us to be in situations that are not good. but He is there waiting for us to call out to Him so He can help us or deliver us.

Psalm 50:15 NKJV 15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me."

Psalm 55:16 NKJV 16 As for me, I will call upon God, And the Lord shall save me.

Psalm 91:15 NKJV 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.

 

Taking a stand for righteousness:

You may suffer for standing up for what is right.

1 Peter 2:20 NKJV 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.

Revelation 2:10 NKJV 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

2 Corinthians 11:23-28 NKJV 23 Are they ministers of Christ?--I speak as a fool--I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness-- 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.

Not waiting on God:

Sometimes we are too busy or too focused on something and God has to stop us. To slow us down so we can hear him, so we can learn what He wants to teach us.

Are you too busy for God? He may make it so you are bed ridden and have nothing but time. It sounds harsh, but it may be your eternal soul He is trying to save or show you your purpose.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee said the reason he had cancer was because God was punishing him. He didn't know how to rest, how to wait on God. God had lessons for him to learn.

To endure as Christ endured:

Jesus left the glory of heaven and became flesh. Jesus endured-- temptation by Satan, persecution from the Pharisees, hardship, loss, the hot sun, the dirt, manual labor, and the crucifixion. When it was finished, and He had endured it all, He sat at the right hand of the Father. Should we expect any less than to endure as Jesus endured, to earn our crown and rule with Him during the millennium?