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Sunday AM Remix – 9.11.11

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Why Would a Good God Allow
Innocent People to Suffer?
September 11, 2011

If I could ask God ….? Have you ever thought or said something like this? Let’s be honest, we all have things that we don’t understand, things that cause us to question. Even some of the greatest people in the Bible asked Why? Listed below are just a few:

(Gideon) “…if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” Judges 6:13

(David) “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?  Why do you hide Yourself in times of trouble?” Psalm 10:1

(Jesus) “At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice… ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” Matthew 27:46

George Barna asked people if there was one thing they could ask God what would it be? The number one question was this: “If God is a loving God, why is there so much evil and suffering in the world today?

Many of us would probably agree to this also. I mean look around us, things don’t seem to be getting better.  Maybe some more questions to ask would be: Why do babies, children, and teenagers die at young ages? Why do good people fail, and bad people succeed? Why do people have brain tumors, cancer, and other ailments that limit their life? Why is there so much violence in the world? Why do 1/3 of the kids in the world today go to bed hungry?

These are all questions that we want answers for, and sadly, when we can’t find the answers we want to place the blame.  However, these questions cause us to respond in one of two ways.

WAYS TO RESPOND TO SUFFERING

  • THE SKEPTICS RESPONSE TO SUFFERING:

Many times when bad things happen and we look to place blame on someone or something, we place our blame on God.  However, we must remember that Christians believe that God exists, that He is all good, all powerful, all knowing, and that evil exists. We become skeptics when we believe …

1.  God is not POWERFUL ENOUGH to help me.

This has been coined as Open Theism. Open Theism is the belief that there is a God, but he can’t help us because He doesn’t know the future and in this has limited power.

The Bible however says,

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

“The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good” Proverbs 15:3

2.  God is not CARING ENOUGH to help me.

We see this differently when we look at the truth of scripture.  The Bible describes and says this about God,

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

“And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Luke 12:7

  • 4 BIBLICAL RESPONSES TO SUFFERING:

 1.  GOD HASN’T TOLD US EVERYTHING.

This isn’t a copout!!! Have you ever known a know-it-all? They aren’t very fun to be around are they? God has intentionally not told us everything. There is a mystery to life whether we like it or not.  In fact, if God told us everything, we still wouldn’t understand.

 “Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

Circle the words but then.  But Then means that one day we will see perfectly. This only happens when we are in the presence of God in Heaven.

“Life can only be understood backward, but must be lived forward.” Soren Kierkegaard.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 

Heres the Truth – you will either put your trust in your own knowledge and understanding or you will put your trust in the Lord. It’s better to be the one who trust that God has all the answers then to be the one who needs all the answers.

2.  GOD ISN’T THE AUTHOR OF EVIL.

When God created all that we have seen and yet to see he describes it as excellent!

“Then God looked over all He had made, and He saw that it was excellent in everyway.” Genesis 1:31

If this is so, where did evil come from? Great question! What separates Humans from all of Gods other creation is the fact that we have the ability to choose. Animals live by instinct but humans live by a series of choices.  In fact, we can override, hide, and ignore deep feelings if we choose too. He has given us an element of free will.  The reason God has done this is so we can choose to Love Him in the same way He has loved us. He wants us to choose to love Him because if He forced us to love Him it wouldn’t be love,  it would be duty or obligation.

WHERE DOES SUFFERING COME FROM?

SINFUL choices.

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:7-8

Truth: People starve people and God gets the blame. People hurt people and God gets the blame. Our sinful choices impact all areas of our life and we see it lived out in the world today

SATAN.

“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.” John 10:10

NATURAL LAWS of a broken world.

Truth: Everything is affected by Sin!

 “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who His children really are.  Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse.  But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.  For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”  Romans 8:19-22

3.  GOD CAN USE PAIN TO PRODUCE GOOD.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.  For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son…” Romans 8:28-29

Will you circle the word everything. God uses everything in our life to bring Glory to His name. We have to understand that happiness doesn’t always lead to Holiness. Gods intent is to always make us Holy, then happiness tend to follow.

“Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

Some of our deepest learnings and most heart wrenching prayers happen in times of great need. I’m not talking about the spare tire prayer we pray when something happens, I’m talking about the pursuit of God in a time when we realize how great our need is for Him.

One person described pain and suffering as Gods way of revealing Himself to the world. Every time an unbeliever gets cancer or a life threatening illness or ailment, a believer gets that same ailment to show Gods great power through their journey and Faith.

The Bible records this story in John 9,

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 ‘Rabbi,’ his disciples asked him, ‘why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?’ 3 ‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered.’This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. 4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us.'”

4.  GOD WILL BRING AN END TO EVIL AND SUFFERING.

“I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne.  And the books were opened, including the Book of Life.  And the dead were judged according to what they had done…” Revelations 20:12

“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look the home of God is now among His people!  He will live with them, and they will be His people.  God Himself will be with them.  He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  For the old world and its evil are gone forever.’” Revelations 21:3-4

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1.  List five national events that are so memorable that you remember exactly where you were when you heard the news. (examples: Pearl Harbor bombing, Challenger space shuttle explosion)

2.  Where were you when the planes hit the Twin Towers on 9/11/01?  How did it affect you?

3.  Read 1 Corinthians 13:12.  What things are difficult for human beings to see clearly?  What are you currently struggling with that forces you to trust and depend on God even when you don’t understand?

4. Do you think we have a free will to choose to love God or not, or do you believe God picks out those who will love Him?  How does the power of choice lead to sin, evil, and suffering in the world?

5.  Read Romans 8:28-29 and Hebrews 5:8.  How have you seen God take something ‘bad’ from your life and make something ‘good’ out of it?  What are some of the more difficult/ ways God carves people into being more like Jesus?

6.  One writer wrote, “I believe for every unbeliever who gets cancer, God allows a believer to get cancer so that the world can see the difference.”  What do you think about this statement?  Have you ever seen this?

7.  Read Revelation 20:12.  How will non-believers be judged by God?  How will believers be judged by God?

8.  Read Revelation 21:3-4.  What excites you about heaven and eternity?  Are you eager or reluctant for Christ to return to end the world as we know it?  Why?

9.  How has this study impacted your thoughts on evil and suffering in the world?

MUSICAL WORSHIP SET

It Is Well

Rescue/Everything by Sojourn Community

Your Love Never Fails by Jesus Culture

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us

We hope that you found Sundays Message and following Small Group Questions helpful. If you missed this weeks message, I encourage you to get it here.  While you are there, browse around our website … we think you will like it and find it to be a great tool in inviting friends to FBC Harvester.

As always, I hope you make plans to join us at FBC Harvester next weekend! If distance is a problem, you are always welcome to listen to any of the teachings from our worship service from our website. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us here. We would love the privilege of helping where we can and seeing God do amazing things in our lives together.

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