"Equipping God's People to Reap the Harvest"
Did God create suffering? No, God created a perfect world. It's in the Bible, Genesis 1:31, NKJV. "Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day."
Why is there suffering? We suffer for several different reasons.
Is my suffering a punishment for some sin I have committed? Suffering is not necessarily a punishment of one's sin. It's in the Bible, John 9:2-3, NKJV. "And His disciples asked Him, saying, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.'"
I'm a Christian, why is God allowing me to suffer? Jesus never promised that His followers would not suffer. It's in the Bible, John 16:33, NKJV. "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Suffering is unavoidable, but can be a growing experience. It’s in the Bible, James 1:2-3, NKJV. "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience."
Jesus suffered in His life and in His death on the cross for the sins we did, not His own. It's in the Bible, Isaiah 53:3-5, NKJV. "He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed."
Does Jesus know how I feel? Jesus identifies with our suffering and tough times, and He is always available to help us. It’s in the Bible, Hebrews 4:15-16, NKJV. "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
Does God care that I'm hurting? It's in the Bible, 1 Peter 5:7, NKJV. "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."
God keeps track of your tears. It’s in the Bible, Psalm 56:8, NKJV. “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?
What if I feel like I can't handle it? God will not allow you to suffer more than you can bear. It's in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 10:13, NKJV. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
The moment of your greatest weakeness, is the moment when divine help is nearest. It's in the Bible, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "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. 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."
The suffering we experience in this life is temporary, but the joy of heaven will be eternal. It’s in the Bible, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NKJV. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Will all this suffering be worth it? When we see Jesus in heaven, we'll consider our sufferings small price to pay. It's in the Bible, Romans 8:18, NKJV. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
Although we suffer, God is in control and can give us beauty in the midst of our tragedies. It's in the Bible, Romans 8:28, NKJV. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
God expects us to help the suffering. It’s in the Bible, Matthew 25:34-40, NKJV. "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
There will be no suffering in heaven. It’s in the Bible, Revelation 21:3-4, NKJV. "And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
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