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  • Writer's pictureZack DeBruyne

Why Suffering?

Why do bad things happen in this world?



What role does God play in the existence and impact of evil in our world?



If God is good, why is there evil in the world?



/ T H E E X I S T E N C E O F E V I L /

  • Some have argued that if a loving and powerful God exists, He would not allow evil to exist. Evil does exist; therefore, there must be no God.

  • The existence of evil is a difficult one for everyone. Being human means that we have not remained somehow untouched and unaffected by the clear brokenness of the world that we live in.

  • In fact all throughout scripture we see the presence of evil, primarily in the hearts and actions of those who fill the stories of the Bible.

  • And that suffering will come as a result of following Jesus (John 15:20)!

  • As humans when we experience the side-effects of evil in our own personal pain and suffering, we often have two responses:

  • Moralism: If I do more or if I believe more, God will heal me.

  • Cynicism: Life is one giant crap-shoot. Suffering alone proves there is no God, and if there is, He is incompetant or careless toward his people. No one is in charge, nothing really matters. Live your life and enjoy.

/ A S U F F E R I N G L I F E /

  • As we go through a rough-time, and ask “Why me?”, what we are really asking is “How does God even work?”

  • Why does He permit suffering sometimes, but prevent it at other times?

/ W H A T I S I T ? /

Suffering (118 times in Scripture)

  • Πάσχω - To experience affliction, loss, misfortune, harm, or torment.

  • Nasha - נשׂא - To experience pain, to carry, lift up, raise, take away, to be evi

  • The author of suffering is evil. Evil that is chosen by fallen human hearts, and the author of evil.

/ E V I L D E F I N E D /

  • rah - רַע - Badly made, of small worth, poor, wicked.

  • Raha - Wickedness, depravity, misfortune, disaster.

  • Πονηρός - Poneros - Wicked, wrong, bad.

  • This is also the word for bad - interchangeable.

  • Satan is the author of evil, the originator of depravity.

  • Summary: Depravity, wickedness, affliction.

/ R E A D /

Job 1:13-22 , Job 2:3-10

  • The book of Job is not strictly about this person of job, it is about all of us.

  • No matter our suffering and pain, we are all prone to asking the same question: Why?

  • And we direct these questions to the central subject of the book of Job - God himself.

/ J O B + E V I L /

  • Satan’s idea to do evil to Job - God does not actively generate the suffering.

  • When God made the world, He did not make natural disasters or cancer. The Garden was not a place of death. They are not things God actually made.

  • They are in this world, but he did not directly make them. They are forces of darkness that were unleashed when we turned on God -- we unleashed the forces of evil. When we did the one thing God commanded us not to (Genesis 3).

  • God does not actively desire to create suffering in Job’s life.

  • God is in absolute control.

  • We do not have Satan and God fighting against each other. God is in charge.

  • He permits it, but He limits it.

/ G O D A L L O W E D I T ? /

  • God only allows Satan to accomplish the total opposite of what he wanted to accomplish.

  • Satan is bringing evil in Job’s life, but in pursuit of Job to be discredited and exposed as a faithless follower.

  • Satan was allowed to bring evil into Job’s life in such an amount that it actually completely defeats Satan’s real intention.

  • Job is one of the most famous people in History -- his example of bravery, courage, and humanity.

  • God takes Satan’s intentions and purposes, and turns them toward his own.

  • God hates evil and suffering -- but he allows it only to the degree that it actually defeats itself, and Satan’s intentions in your life.

/ S O , W H Y ? /

  • It does not answer the “why” question that we are so prone to ask when things go wrong. Instead, we are called to trust (to have faith) in God’s wisdom and, in the process, to conclude by faith that He is far beyond us.

  • If anyone ever deserved an answer it was Job, and yet, Job never receives a clear answer to his prodding. Only that God’s ways are far beyond his.

  • Even Jesus, the Son of God, had to suffer!

/ M Y S T E R Y /

  • Hold onto mystery and stay in faith in a God that you cannot control.

  • Do not resign that you do not know why you suffer, but instead that you need not to know why you suffer.

  • Fear of God - Inward awe and wonder.

  • “Job doesn’t love you, He loves everything that you’ve given to him. If any of those things go away, He won’t love you anymore,” Satan to God.

/ A P U R P O S E /

  • We find purpose in suffering if we allow it to draw us closer to him in dependence instead of driving us further from him.

  • This does not mean that suffering is GOOD, but that God is GOOD in spite of, and through our experiences with suffering.

  • “And my only friend is darkness…” Psalm 88.

  • There is no better place to learn about the grace of God in dark times.

  • Pain offers proof of life, of union, a vital sign that our bodies remain. In grief, love and pain converge. Pain is a sensation of life, of love.

  • Tim Keller on Suffering and Love - “The only way that we are able to truthfully, holistically love God for who He is and what He is doing in our lives is if we suffer.”

/ A S U F F E R I N G S E R V A N T /

/ R E A D /

Isaiah 53:4-6

  • The Almighty God, the Lord of the Universe, stooped down to take our pain, and completed his union with us.

  • “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” - Philippians 2:6-8.

  • Not even God remained exempt from pain and suffering.

  • “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted,” Hebrews 2:14.

  • The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Heb 2:18). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

  • “Feel my hands, touch my side, finger my scars…”

  • God is love - to love means to hurt, to grieve.

/ A N S W E R /

  • WE cannot give an answer, and I encourage you to resist anyone who gives one with confidence.

  • God did not answer the question for Job, who deserved it more than most others who have ever lived. Nor did Jesus attempt to answer the ‘Why?’. We have hints, but never a full answer.

  • But what we DO KNOW with certainty is how God feels.

  • Jesus wept: for Lazarus, when he looked over doomed Jerusalem, and when he faced the ordeal of His suffering.

“I would like to promise you a long and pain free life, but I cannot do so. God has not made that guarantee and not even Jesus was granted those favors. Rather, the Christian view of the world reduces to a simple formula. The world is good The world is fallen. The world will be redeemed.” (Yancy, Where is God When it Hurts?)

/ H O P E O F R E D E M P T I O N /

  • The world we live in is not the world God wants or is satisfied with.

  • God has promised a time when evil will be defeated.

  • God has promised that even the scars we accumulate from our time here on this fallen planet will be redeemed, as Jesus bodily demonstrated to Thomas.

  • Romans 8 - All things can be redeemed, and all things cry out to God.

“Praise be to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flows over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows,” 2 Corinthians 1

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