Madison Church

Why Does God Allow Pain & Suffering? | Searching For Answers (Part 6) | Stephen Feith

May 22, 2023 Stephen Feith
Madison Church
Why Does God Allow Pain & Suffering? | Searching For Answers (Part 6) | Stephen Feith
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

We take an introspective look at how suffering and pain can affect our faith through the trials of biblical figures like Naomi, Job, and Habakkuk. Our conversation highlights the importance of embracing our imperfect faith and exploring the complexities of believing in God's goodness even amidst injustice. Ponder the impact these biblical stories have on our own families, communities, and relationships with God.

Let's also discuss the power of free will and its role in our lives. We'll uncover what it means to truly love, along with the idea that pain and suffering were not part of God's original creation plan. As we wrap up, find solace in knowing that Jesus is with us through our pain and suffering, understanding our struggles as someone who has experienced them himself, and offering us the promise of resurrection.

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Speaker 1:

And welcome to our online audience. I'm Stephen lead, pastor of Madison Church. I really like to read. Do you guys like to read? Anyone? Some of you, some of you, some of you? Okay, um, i'll read on my Kindle app. I read all over the place. I'll read on my Kindle app If it's a book that came highly recommended. But as I was checking it out, i'm like I don't really know about this book. I don't know if I'm, if I'm all in, if I want a paper copy that I got to, like, put on a bookshelf, take up space, potentially, give away some time. Um, i'll listen to Audible, i'll listen to a fiction on Audible And so, uh, that's rare, though I don't do a lot of fiction because my favorite type of reading is nonfiction, that's the, not fake stuff, that's real, like theology, biblical studies, business leadership. I love that. And, um, this week I was putting together a bookshelf and I bought a big one. It's like three feet wide. It's, it's a six and a half feet tall. I filled it up and it wasn't even half my books, and so I came to this realization that I own like a couple hundred nonfiction books. I've read only about three, four stuff of them, um, but they're all over my house, they're in my basement, they're in my bedroom on the floor. We have three different TV stands. That's a different story for a different day. We don't, we only have one TV. We have three different TV stands, all full of books, all full of books. I have an addiction to nonfiction books And let me explain, because some of you are like why, how can you read all that dry stuff all the time? I love the opportunity to sit down with a nonfiction book and to hear someone's perspective, from beginning to end, on a topic that they've taken on. If you and I were getting together and talking about like the message that we have this week, or we're talking about the Bible we talked about a few weeks ago, talking about depression, anxiety, doubt and faith We're talking about any of all of those topics If you and I were having a conversation, you would say something and the expectations, i would say something back And then you would say something and we'd have a conversation going back and forth. But when you're reading a book, whatever that kind of, is a Bible book, a leadership book just from beginning to end, you got to just listen. Like I can talk to the book but the book isn't going to talk back And I can disagree with the book, but the book isn't going to change its opinion just because I say it, and so I always walk away from these nonfiction books feeling better. I always feel challenged, i always feel like my opinions change a little bit, and that's why I love it. I want to share my love of books and reading with my three kids, and so we've been reading to them, even when, before you know, they could really understand what was going on, got little pictures of them just like laying on me They can't even hold their head up And I'm like reading green eggs and ham to all of her or something. And I wanted to bring some of their favorite books with me today to show you, because I'm a dad and that's what we do. This is called this little president presidential prize. This is a presidential primer, so they go through and talk about some of the more popular presidents. This was Oliver's favorite book, is so popular at our house. This is the fourth copy that I've owned. It's a board book. These are supposed to withstand normal wear and tear of a child And Oliver just loves it. Elijah didn't have really a favorite book, he just loved anything with construction vehicles. He's a little weird kid. He could say things like mama, dad, dad, baba and excavator, like, just randomly, our quinny bear. We call her. She likes brown bear, brown bear. What do you see? I've read this to her so many times. I could read this book to you today Word for word, without opening it. Okay, i've read that. The first two words she strung together wasn't like I love you dad, dad, i love you mama, it was brown bear, brown bear. As she's walking around with this, of course I read them this classic. It's called me and my dad, because indoctrination is underrated these days, and so I've got to read them this. They have their little storybook Bible. We have a Bible, we read them. This is a great one if you have little younger kids And this book we don't really read too often. But it made me think of our topic today. Has anyone heard of the popular children's book Alexander is terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. You guys love this book, you guys read it to your kids or anything. I'm going to read just a little bit of an excerpt in case you're unfamiliar with it. But here's a little boy, alexander. He says I went to sleep with gum in my mouth, and now there's gum in my hair. And when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink. While the water was running, i could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And what she concludes? I think I'll move to Ulster, i'll move to Australia. It's obviously bad. Things don't happen in Australia, right? Alexander's story goes on. His brothers find the prizes in the cereal box. You know cereal boxes. Sometimes they put a little prize in there. They're all eating their cereal. And Alexander's two brothers. They find prizes, but he says there's only cereal in mine. He has to take the middle seat. On the way to school He's crunched in the back seat. Some of you know, because you did that on the way to church day. You crunched into the car And whoever had the window seat were the big winners. Well, in this story, the ones who got the prizes in the cereal box also got the beloved window seats. Alexander, he gets in trouble at school for singing too loudly. He gets in trouble for that. And he finds out. This one actually cut me a little bit when I was reading it It was. He found out that he was his best friend's third best friend. Good, unpack that. That's deep. That's a deep wound, isn't it? After school, it doesn't get better. He finds out that he has a cavity that needs to be filled And again he keeps thinking if I just go to Australia, none of this would happen, everything would be better. Has anyone been to Australia in the room? Okay, a couple of you, one of you. Okay, bad things happen, even in Australia. We have someone who's been there who can speak affirmatively to that Alexander's mom. At the end of the book It's great, it's how the book ends She just says you know, some days are like this and bad things can happen anywhere, even in Australia. Boom, book's over. We could find humor in the child's book like that. We read it. We think it's funny going to bed with gum in your mouth, waking up with it in your hair. We can find humor in that, except the part about the best friend, that's. That's an adult issue too. But we all have bad weeks and they are not funny. We have bad months, we have bad seasons. Some of you might say I'm having a bad life And there's nothing funny about it. And, like Alexander's mom said terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things can happen to anyone anywhere. Maybe your kid did something at school that you cannot believe that they did. That I'm sorry. What they did, what We've never talked like that, we've never done that. We didn't raise them to act like that. You begin to ask those questions What did I do wrong as mom, as a dad, as a parent? Or you get called into the boss's office. You got negative feedback about your job performance. You're worried, you're gonna lose your job. Or you did lose your job. You might have received an email that you didn't get that job And that job would have made your life immediately better, like yesterday would have been better, but you got that email. It did not happen. Someone you love received a horrible diagnosis. Someone you love has unexpectedly passed away. You turn on the news this morning or this week and the reports are worse, perpetually worse, worse than they were last year, worse than they were five years ago, worse than they were ten years ago, and you've got a feeling that they're going to be worse next week. So they're just perpetually gonna continue to get worse. You did that thing Again. You guys all know that thing, that secret thing that you don't want anyone else to know that you struggle with. You did that thing again and you've been trying so hard lately not to, and you hear that voice in your head You're never gonna get it right. You're never gonna get it right. You're always gonna mess up. You're that thing's got you. You might as well just give up. Or you haven't done that thing. This one's this one can hurt too. You haven't done that thing, you've worked really hard and you've had success at it, and yet the person your spouse, the partner in your life, they still want to separate. You've been doing the right things And yet it was just a little too late. Death, divorce, job loss, etc. Etc. During these times, it's hard to find God, and it's at this point in our lives. We ask ourselves and we wonder why does God allow pain and suffering? How can a good God allow pain and suffering? Today we're finishing our series searching for answers with that very question. Throughout the past five weeks almost a month and a half now as of today we've covered practical topics like how do I really get through this? And we've covered topics like how do I read the Bible? What am I supposed to do with my life? How do I handle anxiety? We've also covered topics that might seem a little less practical, but are just as practical. Where did the Bible come from? Is the Bible historically reliable? Can faith and doubt coexist? Those have been some of the questions, some of the answers that we have been searching for throughout this series, and today we're going to search for answers to one of life's hardest questions. I'm sure most of you, if not all of you, i'm pretty sure it's all of you, but the question that you have asked how can a good God allow pain and suffering? And maybe you're wondering here today. You grew up in and around the church. Are we allowed to talk about this? Are we allowed to talk about this issue? There aren't really great answers. I've been around a little bit, i've heard people talk about it, i've been to Reddit and I've read the little posts and the comments on that, and this really doesn't seem like it's in our favor, steven. Like why are we covering that today? Shouldn't we just trust God, trust God's plans? Shouldn't we just have faith that, whatever we're going through, he has a reason? And I would say actually no. No, the Bible is actually full of stories of people who go through really difficult, challenging things. And they don't just say have faith, they don't just say I'm just going to trust God in my suffering. They actually challenge God, they complain to God, they throw their hands up and wave and they say aren't you there? If you don't believe me, think about Naomi from Ruth. Naomi, an Israelite woman whose family moved to another country to escape a famine. Once they got to this other country to escape the famine, her husband and her two sons died. And we read in Ruth. I think we got the words on the screen. She says don't call me Naomi, instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made my life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. I went away full and I'm empty now. And whose fault is it? God is what she says. Why call me Naomi When the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me? Naomi laments, she cries out to God. It's not an issue of having enough faith or a little faith. It's about her being real with God In Job, chapter three Job, perhaps one of the most famous sufferers in all of the Old Testament. We read in Job Why is life given to those with no future, those. God is surrounded with difficulties. I cannot eat for sighing. My groans pour out like water. What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true. I have no peace, no quietness, i have no rest. Only trouble comes. In the story of Job. Job loses his house, his properties, he loses his family, all of his children die, his wife dies, he loses his health. And he says I'm at the point in my life I have no peace, no quiet, no rest, only trouble comes. In modern day, he might say everything sucks. It'd be really hard to disagree with him. No, we don't look at Job and say, oh, you don't have enough faith. As a matter of fact, he had friends who said that to him. If you read the story of Job, he has friends who say why don't you have more faith? And then they're rebuked for saying that because the issue wasn't Job's faith. And maybe you're listening and you're watching online or you're in the room, and it's questions like these Suffering and pain and is God good? It's questions like these that have caused you to doubt God's goodness. It's caused you to doubt God's existence. You can't understand how, on the one hand, in the New Testament, jesus says love God, love other people. And you see all the pain and suffering in the world And you say, well, why doesn't God love other people? When you see famines and genocide and wars, why doesn't God love other people? And you say, well, if God's like that, then he must not be real, god must not be out there. You were told, maybe, to just put your trust in God, and you tried. You really did try. You wanted to believe that everything happened for a reason, that God had some grand plan for all of this suffering. But the more and more you saw and the more and more you experienced that came into serious doubt. Not just that, but God came into serious doubt. Whoever told you those things was trying to be helpful. Whoever told you those things was trying to be helpful. I'm not trying to cut them down at all, but it wasn't biblical. David, moses and the disciples they all had faith. Some of them walked on water, some of them walked through water as it was parted. It wasn't like they didn't see God do things. And yet they searched for answers to this question on pain and suffering when it occurred to them, even though they saw all of these other things. If I were to ask you to raise your hand, if you have ever walked on water, you might say frozen water. But that's not what we're talking about. Have you ever walked across Lake Mendoza when God has split it? You say no, i don't remember that happening. I don't remember reading that about on my new. It hasn't happened. So we haven't seen these miracles. And we ask, and that's OK, they did see those miracles And they asked, and it was still OK. Habakkuk was a prophet living in the final decades before Israel's southern kingdom was destroyed by Babylon, and this was a time of his country, his nation, his people, in which injustices and idolatry in Israel were out of control. And his book in the Old Testament documents his own personal struggle to believe that God is what To believe? that God was good. There's a whole book in the Old Testament in which there's suffering and pain all around him And he's trying to figure out. God, i know you're real God, i have faith, but why does all of this happen And why is it happening? We read in his book Habakkuk, chapter 1, verses 2, 3, and 4, he says how long, oh Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen. Violence is everywhere I cry, but you do not come and save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, i see destruction and violence. I'm surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. This just describes some of your families. Right around Thanksgiving and Christmas, i'm surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed and there's no justice in the courts, so wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted. You see, a lot of people knew God really well. It wasn't that they had a lack of faith in God, it wasn't that they didn't see God do things. It wasn't that they didn't experience God do things, but they wondered God. This is how I know you to be God, this is who you say you are. And yet look around me at all the pain and suffering. How do I close the gap between what I know to be true and what I am experiencing? Their vibrant faith in God didn't make them stop believing in God because of pain and suffering. The pain and suffering in their life actually drove them closer to God Instead of looking at the pain and suffering in their life saying, well, i can't believe in God anymore because this doesn't make sense. They took the pain and suffering and all that they were going through and they took it right to God. They took it right to Him and said help me understand this. And in that way, their pain and suffering and all of the things that they were going through the death, divorce, the not getting the job, all of those things they brought it to God and they were angry and they yelled and they complained, they threw their hands up. They said this is your fault. And God didn't strike them with lightning. The ground didn't open up and swallow them. God doesn't turn around and yell at them, but God embraces them on this journey. And I think about how everything I've just read from Ruth and Job Habakkuk written thousands of years ago. But all of these words, if I didn't tell you they were written thousands of years ago, you would think that somebody wrote this today. How long, oh Lord, must we call for help? Has we seen another community ravaged by natural disaster? bigger hurricanes, bigger tornadoes, bigger fires? How long, oh Lord, violence is everywhere? we lament as we watch a senseless war continue to rage in Ukraine. How long, oh Lord, must we forever see these evil deeds? We ask and we grieve as we grieve The loss of life like innocent children and their teachers were gunned down in Yuvolde, which in a couple of days will be the one year anniversary of that mass shooting in Texas. How long will we see these deeds, god, and in so many other places in the US and all sorts of things? and when then we realize we let our minds go and we realize that our kids are likely seeing these tragedies unfold live on social media, before we ever get the censored, watered down version on TV? Why, god? Why? Well, let's be honest, it's not just questions about the world. We care about you all day in Texas and we care about the injustices going on all over the United States, but let's also be real. There are things going on in your life that you're wanting to bring to God and say why is this? This feels like a really big deal to me, god. Why did you let this happen to me? Why don't you care about all the pain I'm in? Why don't you do something If I were to go through my prayer journal today and show you my prayers, the common one, god, why don't you do something? I want so badly for you to do something. Why don't you do something. If you've ever found yourself asking those questions, these questions about pain and suffering, i want to assure you that you are in some very, very good company. There's a lot of people that we read about in the Bible who had a ton of faith and asked the same questions, and I'm glad that you're here today. So let's briefly talk about possible answers to how God, a good God, could allow pain and suffering. And let me first state I'm not going to be the one person in the history of the world who has solved this for you today. I just want to set up that expectation and you're not going to walk out of here today being like he did it, holy cow, he did it, he figured it out. They're really bright, really smart, really wise scholars and theologians who have worked together and they have progressed the conversation on this, but we still haven't figured it out. But I want to share with you some of the reasons that we have to believe that you can have a good God that allows pain and suffering. I want to attempt to answer the question. I'm not going to juke you this morning and set all of this up and be like, well, there is no answer. I would not do that to you. But I also don't want to insult your knowledge. I don't want to insult your intellect. I know you're all smart people And so to come here and give you an easy answer to your hard questions would just be insulting. And so let's talk about how hard this is, beginning with the beginning. Pain and suffering were not part of God's original creation. If you don't believe me, go to the first page of the Bible, genesis 1 and 2, and you can read it. God makes this, it's good. God makes that, it's good. God makes this, it's good. He makes human. He says that's good. I got to get a human and another person. That's not good, but it's not bad, it's not sin, it's not sin. But he says this isn't good, that the man's alone. So I'm going to create another person, and it's good, it's good, it's good. One of the things that you'll notice. You have to notice pain is not mentioned, suffering is not mentioned, sickness isn't mentioned, death isn't mentioned, but it does happen. We see that, adam and Eve, these humans, in an Old Testament, in Genesis. We see that they make a choice against God's will. They want their own will. They make a choice and we see everything changes. Paul summarizes it in Romans 5, verse 12. He says When Adam sinned, sin entered the world and Adam's sin brought death. So death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. You see, when God created everything, everything was good, and then, when people messed up, it brought in sin and with sin, brought in death, sickness, pain and suffering. In the beginning we read over and over again everything was good And now something is bad. We were given free will, you and I. Not just the ability to choose Okay, i want you to. This is kind of heady Not just the ability to choose. God doesn't just say A or B, but God lays out a bunch of options for you. He doesn't say you don't only get to choose, you get to create. You don't have to just choose love, because if that was the only choice love then we're just lovely beings. But God says if you're going to choose hate, i'm going to let you, or if you're going to choose love, i'm going to let you choose hate. If you're going to choose me, there has to be an option in which you can reject me. For you to be able to create good things this week, for you to be able to create good things over the course of your life, you have to be able to create bad things. That's what it means to have free will, to be autonomous. You see, god didn't create you to be a puppet or a stooge and a play. God didn't need that. God could have skipped this whole thing, could have skipped the whole thing. We're all just being heaven right now, living out our little robotic lives. That's not the way it is. God creates us. He wants relationship with you and me. He wants fellowship with us and not mindless. If Megan, my wife, only stayed with me because she had to, is that love? Is she choosing me? Is she choosing me every day? Does she want to be with me? or is she with me because someone's making her, because she's forced to stay And you would say well, augusta, that's not a great relationship. If she's only there because she has to stay there, that's not love. She's not choosing you. That's not like the marriage that you want. It's not the marriage I would want. For Megan to be able to choose me, to choose to love me. This option that she has, that she could leave, has to be on the table. I suppose that it is. I hope I do a good enough job as a spouse, to make her not want to leave. But it's a choice that we have to make And that's what God has given each of you. God says I would love it if you choose my will. I would love it if you chose to love me. I would love it if you chose to love other people. But I understand that you're not a robot. God never wanted you to be pre-programmed. So he says here, have a choice. And even though in the garden it seems that we're laid out this scenario in which there are a bunch of good choices and only one really bad choice, and then humans chose the really bad choice. And before we judge them all of us in our lives we've been faced with a bunch of good choices And, if we're being honest, we've made the one bad choice right. We look back and we say why did we do that? There are so many good options and I chose the one bad one. This is why Jesus, when teaching His disciples to pray, he says pray, your kingdom come, your will be done. And it's not a silly thing to pray. If God's will was the only will being done. Why would you pray for God's will to be done if nobody else had a will. If you didn't have a will, why would Jesus say pray for that Because it makes God feel good. So let me get this straight if we're going down this path, god has pre-programmed everybody. You don't have free will. And then when Jesus comes and he says in his pre-programmed because, remember, this is all played out and all the disciples come to him and they're asking him a question because they're already pre-programmed, they say how do we pray In this pre-programmed play? he says pray that God's will is done. Is that confusing to you? Okay, it should be. It makes no sense. But if in a world in which we have free will, god, who comes on earth as a person, says when you want to know how to pray, you have free will, okay, one of the first things that you need to pray is God, let your will be done and catch this because you have a will And just saying trust me, you want that will to be done, not your own. Why does pain and suffering in your life exist? In some cases it's because of sin. Death, we're told, is here because of sin, sickness because of sin. Those things did not exist when God first created the world. In other cases, it's because you have a choice and I have a choice, and everyone on the road has a choice, and everyone in the world has a choice. And sometimes we make choices, whether we meant to or not, whether we were aware of the consequences or not, but sometimes we make choices that negatively impact other people, because you're not perfect and I'm not perfect, and so sometimes the pain and suffering in your life is because of someone else's choices. Sometimes the pain and suffering in our lives is because of our own choices, because of choices that we have made away from God's will, and that's hard. But we fast forward to the end of the story. Right now, you and I live in the in-between part. There's the goodness of the garden, there's sin. We're in that era and we get to the end of the story and we read in Revelation. John says I heard a loud shout from the throne saying look, god's home is now among his people. He will live with them and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All of these things will be gone forever. That should be really hard for us to imagine. There's hope there. We want to lean in, but you and I have never experienced what that just was. You've never experienced perfection, because we are never in the garden. But we're promised at the end of our lives everything will be made right again. And here's the part I don't understand. We'll still have autonomy because God still wants us to choose love. So the part I don't understand is how God puts everything back together and you and I still have autonomy. But we're told in this passage in Revelation, the story of God. It's going to happen No more pain, no more suffering, togetherness with God. Now does this little free will explanation mean that, like all of a sudden, your pain and suffering is less? Probably not. You probably feel about the same as you did 10, 15 minutes ago, and I bring that up to show that sometimes we think that with our pain and suffering, if there was a reason or if I just knew the reason, it would hurt less. Now it would still hurt, and it does still hurt. And there aren't good enough answers to some of the things that we're going through, whether they were your choices or someone else's choices, or just in the fact that we live in a broken world. It doesn't just affect you, but it affected Jesus as well. The prophet, isaiah, prophesied that Jesus would be despised and rejected. A man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief, isaiah, says we turn our backs on him and look the other way. He was despised and we did not care. In Jesus, this prophecy from Isaiah was fulfilled. We read in Mark 14, he's in the garden and the night of his arrest he was so stressed out, he was so troubled, he says. He shouts out my soul is being crushed with grief to the point of death. His stress is so overwhelming that he's sweating drops of blood, which is a real medical condition, your body's response to stress. You can be so stressed that you start sweating your blood. He begs God, save me. I don't want to go through this. But he ends the prayer with your will, not mine Be done. It's hard to understand, but even in that moment Jesus, fully God but also fully human, recognizes in this moment the fully human part of him does not want to go through with what he's supposed to go through with. He takes that pain and suffering and he gives it to God and he says not your will or not my will, but your will. And on the cross, he cried out in despair. He asked well, god, why did you abandon me? We read a couple days later, on Easter Sunday, that God did not abandon him, but through the resurrection, now we all have life. Jesus' suffering doesn't answer the question why does pain and suffering? God allow pain and suffering, but it tells us what the answer is not. It can't be that God doesn't love us. It can't be that he doesn't care. Even Jesus, our suffering savior. We discover that even the best people suffer. As a matter of fact, if you think about our faith, it's built on the premise that something really bad happened to a really good person. We find that God identifies with us in our suffering, and this is a good time for me to point out, as we're getting ready to wrap this up. It's a good time for me to point out that your situation won't always get better. If you just had a little bit more faith You've heard that before just have a little bit more faith. Well, if you had more faith, maybe that wouldn't have happened. Maybe that's how you have heard it. Okay, that's unbiblical. It's not true. It's bad theology, because that Jesus suffered, that Jesus experienced pain. It shows us. That's not true. You think that Jesus had a lack of faith and that's why he suffered. No, jesus was full of faith and yet he still suffered. There's no correlation between the amount of faith you have in your suffering, because bad things happen to good people, good things happen to bad people and a whole bunch of stuff right in the middle there, because we live in a world that's broken and unfunctional. Why are some people healed and other people aren't? Perhaps today you're going through something that you keep offering to God and praying and you have faith that he can do it. I don't know. I don't know, but I choose to believe that if God could, he would. There's just some things, though. We don't know. There's a hypothesis, and this is way out of my league. So hang with me, and if you're a scientist in the room or you're listening, you can email me or talk to me if I'm wrong here. But there's this hypothesis about this thing called dark matter in the science community, and it's a hypothesis that there's this form of matter and it's thought to account for 85% of our universe. I want you to catch that. It's a hypothesis, It's a theory, it's unproven. We think that 85% of the universe is made up of this stuff, but we can't prove it. Just because we can't prove it today doesn't mean we won't prove it next week or any year from now. They're working on it right. And just because we can't prove it doesn't mean it's not real. There's something about our galaxies and our universe 85% of it. Something's out there, but we just can't explain it. And I would say the same is true about your pain and suffering. You pray about it. You ask God why haven't you taken this from me? We don't have the answers yet, but that doesn't mean you won't get the answers. It also doesn't mean that God's not real. I may not know what you're specifically going through today. I meet with a lot of you a lot of times. You guys share stories, but I always imagine I'm getting like maybe 80% of it. I always imagine you're withholding just a little bit and that's okay. That's okay. I want to respect your privacy. I don't know what's really maybe broken your heart or torn you down, but I do know this. I know for a fact that a lot of you are carrying pain, deep pain, trauma, things that trigger you. I know that And I want to end on this very practical application point Jesus loves you I mean just so much And you have not gone a moment in your pain and suffering without him. He's been with you the whole time. You might not have noticed that, you might not have been aware of that, but he's been with you the whole time And Jesus understands your pain, not like a scientist studying it, but as someone who left heaven and came to earth and experienced pain and suffering, like you and me, and he promises that he will never leave us. He has experienced suffering, you have experienced suffering, but Jesus also experienced the resurrection. You will experience a resurrection. So let's keep our eyes on Jesus, keep our lives centered on God as we move forward in our pain and in our suffering, because through Jesus, we can and in some ways do, experience redemptive power of hope through our suffering here and now.

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Faith and Suffering
Free Will and Suffering
Finding Hope in Suffering With Jesus