Sufferings and Trial


1.                  There is not an answer to all our questions that we can fully comprehend. 
2.                  We, as finite human beings, can never fully understand an infinite God

Romans 11:33-36
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. {whom: Gr. him}

3.   Sometimes we think we understand why God is doing something, only to find out later that it was for a different purpose than we originally thought.  
4.   God looks at things from an eternal perspective - We look at things from an earthly perspective. 

What is suffering?

1.             Whatever we call suffering are not really suffering
2.             Suffering is excruciating pain caused by lack of wellness – physically, materially, emotionally and spiritually
3.             This kind of suffering is the aftermath of sin
4.             God is never the author of sufferings
5.             Thus, let us say that suffering exists in this Universe
6.             At certain times, we fall into it and at other occasions we keep ourselves away from it
7.             But we often use the term “Suffering” in a broad sense
8.             What ever happens in our life against our will is usually called as Suffering by us.
9.             This is not true.
10.         In this broad concept, we may say that sufferings are brought into our life by God
11.         If we call only real suffering, suffering, we are certain that God never bring suffering into our life.


Suffering is real

i.             Some religions (such as Hinduism, Christian Science) believe that suffering is just illusion.
ii.           The pain, grief, and sorrow that we experience in this life is not imaginary.
iii.         It is real.
iv.         We cannot talk about suffering in some detached theological manner.
v.           Anguish, distress, torment, and agony cannot be reasoned away by some appeal to a few Scriptures taken out of context.
vi.         Suffering was so real that our Lord Himself came to live in it, experience the full depth of it, conquer it, and redeem it.
vii.       His suffering was real. So it ours.

Free Will

  1. God didn’t want a race of robots that did not have a free will.
  2. God created Man with Free Will
  3. Man has freedom to 
4.      God had to allow the possibility of evil for us to have a true choice of whether to worship God or not.
5.      If He hadn’t allowed evil, we would be worshipping Him out of obligation, not by a choice of our own free will.

What is Evil?

1.          Evil is the absence of Good or God
2.          Evil is not a "thing" - like a rock or electricity.
3.          You can't have a jar of evil!
4.          Evil is something that occurs.
5.          Evil has no existence of its own - it is really a lack in a good thing.
6.          For example, holes are real but they only exist in something else
7.          When a bad relationship exists between two good things we call that evil
8.          If I were to ask the average person "does cold exist?" - their answer          would likely be yes.
9.          However, Cold does not exist - Cold is the absence of heat.
10.      Similarly, darkness does not exist - Darkness is the absence of light.
11.      When we lost all good things in life (Life of Job), we say we have fallen into Evil days.

Did God Create Evil?

  1. God did not create Evil.
  2. When God created, it is true that all that existed was good.
  3. One of the good things that God made was creatures who had the freedom to choose good or reject good.
  4. In order to have a real choice, God gave freedom to reject good.
  5. Evil is the absence of good, or better, evil is the absence       of God.
  6. God did not have to create evil, but rather only allow for the absence          of good.


When Bad Things Happen

The Scriptures speak of three major categories of "Sufferings" for the believer:

1)       Judgment, Training, Discipline or rebuke or Correction from the Lord.

Judgment – God is directly involved by His Word of law pronounced already
Training – God purposefully guide you through a difficult situation to train you in Faith life
Correction – God wants you to change your current path

2) Persecution for His Name
3) Attacks from Satan - Satan behind the trouble

1.           So when trouble comes, what type is it?
2.           Some kinds of trouble can be avoided and some cannot.
3.           Each requires a different response from Scripture!
4.           So how can the type of trouble be discerned?
5.           Is this God directly moving to correct me, or is this persecution for His Name, or is Satan behind the trouble?

Who's in Charge Here?


I.                   Three Options


   1.                        Chance -       There is no God. Everything that happens is unplanned and accidental
   2.                        Dualism -      Authority is shared between two (or more) gods who are at cross purposes with one another.
   3.                        God controls -God has authority over everything.

II.                God is in control and sovereign over all events

1. Suffering is real, but it is not the only reality
2. There is more to the universe than pain
3. God is in charge and nothing happens apart from His involvement at some level
4. How far does God's authority really extend?
5. Is He sovereign over everything or just some things?
6. Is He intimately involved in the details or just the general plan?

III.             The LORD is Intimately Involved with All Things


1.      He determines the roll of the dice –

Proverbs 16:33 -          “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.”

2.                  Not one sparrow alights upon the ground apart from God's direction –

Matthew 10:29 -          Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground          apart from the will of your Father.”

3.                  God directs through the decisions of government leaders –

Proverbs 21:1 - “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD; He directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.”

4.        God causes affluence and creates calamity –

Isaiah 45:5-7 -  “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.”

5.        God is involved in bringing famine, drought, blight, plague, and war –

Amos 4:6-13
6 – “And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.”
7 - “And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.
8 - “So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
9 –“I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. {when...: or, the multitude of your gardens, etc. did the palmerworm}
10 –“I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. {after...: or, in the way} {and have...: Heb. with the captivity of your horses}
11 –“I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
12 -“Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.
13 –“For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name. {wind: or, spirit}”

6.  The LORD has a plan and works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will

Ephesians 1:11 - “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will”

7.         Therefore, no plan of man can succeed against the LORD –

Proverbs 21:30 – “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.”


IV.              The LORD Directs the Decisions and Destinies of Men and Women:


Proverbs 16:9 – “A man's mind may plan his way, but the LORD is the one who determines his steps.

1.      Some men rise to prosperity & fame, while others are brought low. God is in control of this too. –

Psalm 75:6-7 - No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.”

2. The days of our lives which lie ahead are already known and ordained by the LORD –

Psalm 139:15-16 –My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Acts 17:28 - In Him we live and move and have our being.

V.    Even the Actions of the Wicked are ultimately under God's Control



Proverbs 16:4 – “The LORD works out everything for His own ends - even the wicked for a day of disaster.”

1.      The evil actions of Joseph's brothers were ordained by God to accomplish His purposes –

Genesis 45:7 – “Joseph said to his brothers, "But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance." Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

VI.              All things according to the counsel


1.    God is working all things according to the counsel of His will and for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.
2.    He is shown to be the God who doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence.
3.    While God certainly does use secondary causes - like genes, the environment, and all the other "impersonal" forces (that evolutionary science wants to credit for our development) - at bottom, He is at work in them all, accomplishing His good purposes to glorify Himself by the manifestation of His mercy and His justice.
4.    The whole universe is personally attended to by the living God.
5.    Men, as His image-bearers, are personally responsible for the kind of stewardship they exercise over their relationships with that cosmos and with one another.
6.    They may not be excused from their behavior by appeal to impersonal forces or the whims of evolution.


7.                  Book of Ruth


1.  The writer of the Book of Ruth understood the true nature of the universe.
2.  He tells us that Naomi "heard in the land of Moab that the Lord had visited His people in giving them food."
3.  The writer tells us that God "visited" his people.
4.  The word here is, in Hebrew, paqad, and has a variety of meanings.
5.  One of the most interesting is that it is the word used in the Book of Numbers to describe the activity of going tent-to-tent to count ("to number") the people of Israel.
6.  It speaks to us of a God who is so intimately involved with all the details of weather, soil conditions, botanical processes, and agricultural savvy that He can be seen to be personally present in the workings of nature for the deliverance of His faithful people, "visiting" them with His blessings as they act in accord with their covenant responsibilities.
7.  This is not an impersonal cosmos, and the people with whom we share it are not simply the products of chance, time, and impersonal material particles and processes.

Origin and Causes

I.          Suffering is the Result of the fall of man

1.      Death, pain, grief, loneliness, and all other types of suffering were not part of God's original world
2.      God is not the author for all the bad things that happen in the world.
3.      Adam and all sinful human beings who prove themselves to be children of Adam are the ones to blame for the curse that the world is under.

II.        Where did sufferings originate

1.      Suffering was not created by God
2.      Suffering came into the world as a result of Adamic sin
3.      Adam and Eve were created in the image of God – blameless and guiltless

Genesis 1:26 – “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”


i.                What is here said refers to his soul. This was made in the image and likeness of God.
ii.              The image and likeness must necessarily be intellectual; his mind, his soul, must have been formed after the nature and perfections of his God.
iii.            The human mind is still endowed with most extraordinary capacities; it was more so when issuing out of the hands of its Creator.
iv.            God was now producing a spirit, and a spirit, too, formed after the perfections of his own nature.
v.              God is holy, just, wise, good, and perfect; so must the soul be that sprang from him: there could be in it nothing impure, unjust, ignorant, evil, low, base, mean, or vile.
vi.            Gregory Nyssen has very properly observed that the superiority of man to all other parts of creation is seen in this,
vii.          that all other creatures are represented as the effect of God’s word, but man is represented as the work of God, according to plan and consideration of God.

4.      They suffered no psychological, Spiritual,  material or emotional problems
5.      God gave Adam the task of naming all the animals of the Creation
6.      Adam named all animals
7.      Adam gave name to his wife also.

Genesis 3:20 – “And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”

8.      This shows his psychological health.
9.      Their mind were free from fear till they committed sin
10.  Emotional disquiet happened when they committed sin.

Does God have purposes for suffering?

1.        God is not the author of sufferings
2.        Hence God has no purpose for suffering
3.        Suffering is the aftermath of sin
4.        God came to the Earth as a Man, to take away sufferings from our life.
5.        But God may ask us to do certain things against our will and pleasure
6.        God may put us in certain circumstance to train or teach us a lesson in faith life or holiness
7.        If we consider such situations as sufferings, certainly God allows us to go through it.
8.        Sometimes God reveals His purposes to us immediately. Sometimes it is not until years later that we can look back and see some good come from misery.
9.        And sometimes our pain remains a complete mystery to us. There is some pain that we will not understand until we see Him face to face and understand everything completely

1 Corinthians 13:12 – “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” {darkly: Gr. in a riddle}

10.    Job and many other brethren didn't know either
11.    When we don't understand why we are suffering we experience a doubly difficult burden.
12.    We must trust in the God who loves us and has promised that "in all things God is working for the good for those who love Him" (Romans 8:28).
13.    Our trust is in a Person, not in formulas, principles and explanations.
14.    When we are ignorant of the reasons for our pain, we must place our confidence in a God who has demonstrated throughout history that He is wise and loving in all that He does.

Does God Permit Sufferings In Our Life

1.         God never want us to suffer.
2.         Jesus died on the Cross bearing all sufferings, so that we may live a life without sufferings
3.         But sufferings are here already as a result of sin
4.         At certain times we happen to be in it at another time we keep away from form it.
5.         This world is not our permanent home
6.         This whole world is now under the authority of Satan.

John 16:33 – “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

1 John 5:19 – “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness”


The whole world lieth in wickedness - Lieth in the wicked one - is embraced in the arms of the devil, where it lies fast asleep and carnally secure, deriving its heat and power from its infernal fosterer.  What a truly awful state! And do not the actions, tempers, propensities, opinions and maxims of all worldly men prove and illustrate this?  "In this short expression," says Mr. Wesley, "the horrible state of the world is painted in the most lively colours; a comment on which we have in the actions, conversations, contracts, quarrels and friendships of worldly men."  Yes, their ACTIONS are opposed to the law of God; their CONVERSATIONS shallow, simulous, and false; their CONTRACTS forced, interested, and deceitful; their QUARRELS puerile, ridiculous, and ferocious; and their FRIENDSHIPS hollow, insincere, capricious, and fickle:-all, all the effect of their lying in the arms of the wicked one; for thus they become instinct with his own spirit: and because they are of their father the devil, therefore his lusts they will do.

Albert Barnes’ NT Commentary -

And the whole world - The term “world” here evidently means not the material world, but the people that dwell on the earth, including all idolaters, and all sinners of every grade and kind.
7.         Still the real authority is God
8.         Nothing happens without His knowledge
9.         In this sense, nothing happens without his permission
10.     But since sin is already here on earth as a result of sin, God need not give any special permission for suffering to happen in our life.
11.     Our endeavor must be to keep away from sin and suffering

Explanations for sufferings

1.      But is it God's will that we should never know the reason for our pain? - Absolutely not!
2.      Spiritually speaking, it should be enough for us to simply trust our Creator, but the Lord knows our human weakness and infirmity.

When Bad Things Happen, How Should We Respond?

1.      Some Christian groups assume Satan is behind every kind of problem.
2.      This is a dangerous view, as it comes close to blaspheming the work of the Holy Spirit when God rebukes us.
3.      Other groups focus on enduring trials.
4.      Yet other groups focus on God's discipline to the point of not recognizing mere tribulation or the active work of Satan.
5.      So the next time some "trouble" comes in life, we should discern the meaning.
6.      We should avoid and resist temptation, persevere tests, trials and suffering, and never resist what God is doing, or attribute it to Satan.

Eight Possible Explanations

Four Types of Suffering Which Are For Our Own Benefit


1.      Consequential (sowing & reaping)

1.         Much of our suffering is a result of the spiritual, moral, & natural consequences of our own actions and choices.
2.         Many things get blamed on God which simply are not His fault. 
3.         If you jump off a ten story building and kill yourself, you can't blame that on God.
4.         The law of gravity is the same for everyone. When you violate the natural laws of the universe, then you pay the consequences.
5.         Just as there are natural laws in the universe, so there are moral and spiritual laws.
6.         These laws are the same for everyone.
7.         If you violate them you will suffer the consequences of your actions.
8.         The results are painful, but God is not obligated to deliver us from our wrong choices.
9.         Taking responsibility for our actions instead of blaming God is a step toward maturity.
10.     Here are some passages for you to read which illustrate the principle of consequential suffering:

Galatians 6:7-10
7     Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8     For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9     And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

A.  As a consequence of Sin

Numbers 14:41-45 -- God said to the Israelites, "Don't go. I won't go with you." Israel said, "We'll go anyway." They experienced the natural consequence of their action.

1.         Moses sent twelve leaders of each tribes to spy the land of Canaan
2.         They came back and ten expressed fear and disbelief
3.         only two – Caleb and Joshua affirmed that the Land will be theirs
4.         The whole congregation of Israelites murmured against God and Moses.
5.         So God declared that none of those who murmured will not enter the Promised Land

Numbers 14:28-35
28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. {sware: Heb. lifted up my hand}
31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. {wander: or, feed}
34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. {breach...: or, altering of my purpose}
35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.

6.         But on the next day morning people decided to go up to Canaan.

Numbers 14:40-45
40 And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.
41 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.
42 Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.
43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.
44 But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.
45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.

1 Kings 11           - Solomon ignored God's warning of intermarriage with unbelievers. This introduced the nation to idolatry and division. Solomon himself lost fellowship with God until near the end of his life.

1 Kings 11:1-3
1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; {together...: or, beside}
2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

B. Natural consequence

Acts 20:7-12 -- Eutychus' death is a result of natural consequences.

7     And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
8     And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.
9     And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.
10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.
11 When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.
12 And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.

11.     Of course, the amazing thing is that God in His mercy sometimes delivers us from even the hurtful consequences of our actions.
12.               That's grace. That's undeserved mercy.

2. Correctional / discipline

1.           This type of suffering is a little different than the law of sowing and reaping.
2.           The suffering we experience here is not a natural consequence of our sin.
3.           This not really suffering at all.
4.           This is suffering brought into our life by God to stop a pattern of sin before we experience natural consequences.
5.           God sees a specific sin or habit pattern which needs correcting in our life and says, "I better administer some correction before this thing really gets out of hand."
6.           This is called God's discipline or correction.
7.           The mother who spanks her child to stop him from running into the street is administering correctional suffering. She administers discipline so that the child will change his actions and not experience the natural consequence of those bad actions.
8.           God disciplines us out of love in the same manner.
9.           Of course, we experience this discipline as suffering. It is because our ways are different from His ways and we prefer to go into our ways
10.       God sees it as short term pain for long term gain.
11.       Here are certain truths we must understand about God’s discipline

1.          God uses discipline as a last resort
2.          God's plan for the earth is love first, discipline last
3.          To get us to listen and repent, he will use:

i.             Deep conviction
ii.           Rebuke of friends
iii.         Coincident sermons
iv.         Quickening of Scripture
v.           Every other means before disciplining us.

4.        But if we resist God's Spirit of light and mercy, we are promised the rod of correction.
5.        When God disciplines, the punishment fits the crime. – It does not mean that God punish us cruelly with sufferings – Remember whatever we are not pleased to accept is considered by us as suffering.
6.        God is sculpting us into holy vessels, and the process can be painful.

Job 5:17-18
17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:
18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.

1 Corinthians 11:32 – “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”

Proverbs 20:30 (NIV) – “Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the innermost being.”

Revelation 3:19 (NIV) [Jesus] "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent."

Romans 11:22 – “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”

Here are some examples for you to read about:

Psalm 32 - God ordained illness as a result of a specific sin in David's life. The probable occasion of this psalm was the season of anguish and remorse through which David passed in consequence of his sin in the murder of Uriah the Hittite. David took Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah as his wife. God was displeased with this. As a result David’s son died.

James 5:14-16 - A Christian Brother experiencing illness as a result of an unconfessed and undealt sin in his life.

14    Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15    And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16    Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

1 Corinthians 11:29,30 -- Weakness, sickness & death as a result of improper participation in the Lord's Supper.

29   For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. {damnation: or, judgment}
30   For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Acts 5:1-5 - An example of God's discipline and correction in the early church, so that the rest of the church would not lie to the Holy Spirit.

1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? {to lie to: or, to deceive}
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

1 Corinthians 5:1-5 - In this case, the church is disciplining the individual in place of God. Suffering is being imposed so that "his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord."

1   It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
2   And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3   For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, {judged: or, determined}
4   In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5   To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Timothy 1: 18 – 20
18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

3. Educational - Training

         1.     Educational suffering is not a consequence of an immediate sin.
         2.     It is a “Trail”
         3.     These are not truly suffering – these are only tough situations which we do not like.
         4.     Educational suffering is a challenge that God brings into our life to help us develop and grow.
         5.     Education suffering is meant to bring spiritual fruit and positive character traits into our life.
         6.     God often puts us in situations that initially seem to be beyond us.
         7.     We are tend to ask questions like:- "Why should I have to go through this? I didn't do anything to deserve this in my life? This doesn't seem fair, God."
         8.     God puts us in these situations to help us become mature.
         9.     Educational suffering is a little like military boot. - It gets us in shape and makes us a warrior for God.
       10.   Read the following Scripture passages - You will find a key word repeated in each of these passages. It is the word "teach" or "learn."

Deuteronomy 8:3 - Why did Israel have to go through the wilderness? To teach Israel that man must live by God's words as well as bread.

“And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”

Hebrews 12:5-11 - God places us in suffering situations that we might share in His holiness (v.10) and righteousness & peace (v.11).

5    And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6    For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7    If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8    But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
9    Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. {after...: or, as seemed good, or, meet to them}
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Hebrews 5:7-10 - Jesus Himself had to 'learn' obedience through the things He suffered.

7    Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; {in that...: or, for his piety}
8    Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9    And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Hebrews 2:10 - Jesus was "made perfect" or "became mature" through suffering.

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 - Preventive suffering so that Paul would learn humility and rely on the Lord's power.

7    And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8    For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9    And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

9.         Positive traits those times of trial can develop in us?

i.            Endurance -                         Romans 5:3
ii.          Character -                          Romans 5:4
iii.        Hope -                                 Romans 5:4
iv.        Knowledge of God's love -   Romans 5:5
v.          Empathy -                            2 Corinthians 1:3,4
vi.        Obedience -                         Hebrews 5:8
vii.      Maturity -                             James 1:4
viii.    Proven faith -                        1 Peter 1:7

4. Evaluation - Test

1.      It is like Quiz Time
2.      God uses certain situations to test us, to show us the level we have attained, and to open our eyes to areas we still need to work on.
3.      These often test our faith.
4.      Do we really trust God or do we just say we trust God?  - Evaluation trials tell us the answer to that question.
5.      God never test us will evil
6.      God never test with diseases, accidents or calamity
7.      God test us by putting us in a particular situation to see how we will react.
8.      Read these Scriptures - The key word in these passages is "test."

Genesis 22:1-18 - God tested Abraham.

Genesis 22:1, 2
1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. {Behold...: Heb. Behold me}
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

9.      Note the following pattern: TEST – VERDICT - BLESSING

Genesis 22:1,2
1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. {Behold...: Heb. Behold me}
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.


Genesis 22:11,12
11 And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.


Genesis 22:16,17
16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; {shore: Heb. lip}
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Deuteronomy 8:1,2 - Israel tested during the 40 years in the wilderness to know what was in their heart.

1 All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.
2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.

Luke 4:1-14 - Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tested.

1    And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
2    Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
3    And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.
4    And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
5    And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6    And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
7    If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. {worship me: or, fall down before me}
8    And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
9    And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:
11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.

1 Peter 1:6-7 - Peter said that the purpose of the trials this church was facing was to test their faith.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Four Types of Suffering - For the Benefit of Others


1.      The first four reasons that we found for suffering were for our own benefit.
2.      But not all suffering is for us.
3.      The next four explanations for suffering are for the benefit of others.


5. Sacrificial

1.      Suffering for the sake of someone else.
2.      Sacrificial suffering shouldn't be too difficult for us to understand since examples of sacrificial suffering abound in the natural world:
3.      The mother who suffers to bring a baby into the world
4.      The parent who sacrifices to raise a child
5.      The living donor who gives up his kidney for a transplant recipient
6.      Numerous examples of sacrificial suffering can be found in the Bible too:

i.    Joseph suffered loneliness, slavery, and jail in order to deliver the family of Israel from death.

Genesis 45:4-7
4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. {nor...: Heb. neither let there be anger in your eyes}
6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. {to preserve...: Heb. to put for you a remnant}

ii.    Jesus suffered for our benefit.

Isaiah 53:5,6,8,10,12

5    But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. {wounded: or, tormented} {stripes: Heb. bruise}
6    All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. {laid...: Heb. made the iniquity of us all to meet on him}

8    He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. {from prison...: or, away by distress and judgment: but, etc} {was he...: Heb. was the stroke upon him}

10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. {thou...: or, his soul shall make an offering}

12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

iii.     Priscilla & Aquila for Paul

Romans 16:3,4
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.

(What transaction this refers to we know not; but it appears that these persons had, on some occasion, hazarded their own lives to save that of the apostle; and that the fact was known to all the Churches of God in that quarter, who felt themselves under the highest obligations to these pious persons, for the important service which they had thus rendered.)

 6. Revelation

1.    God uses a situation of suffering so that He might reveal Himself or glorify Himself to others.

Hosea 1 & 3
1.    Hosea was commanded to do something which God knew would involve suffering for him.
2.    Hosea was commanded to marry a woman that God knew would be unfaithful to Hosea.
3.    Why did God ask Hosea to suffer with an unfaithful spouse?
4.    In order that God could reveal Himself to the adulterous nation that He loved.

Hosea's marriage --> unfaithful Gomer
was like
God's marriage --> unfaithful Israel

Romans 3:25,26 - God made Jesus to suffer in order that His divine justice might be revealed

25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; {set forth: or, foreordained} {remission: or, passing over}
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

Romans 5:8 - Christ's suffering on the cross demonstrated and revealed God's love to us

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

7. Persecutional

1.      As we share the good news we suffer at the hands of some who reject it.

Matthew 5:10-12 - Suffering will come to us as a result of sharing the gospel.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. {falsely: Gr. lying}
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

John 16:33 – “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Hebrews 11:35-39 - All of these people suffered persecution for their faith and never saw their reward in this life.

35    Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36    And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37    They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39    And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.”

8. Invisible Level

1.           We suffer as a result of heavenly battles about which we know nothing.
2.           Job never knew that the reason he suffered was because of a heavenly contest between God & Satan.
3.           Does that make Job just a pawn in God's chess game? No.
4.           We have no concern for pawns after they have served their purpose.
5.           But God does care for Job.
6.           That's why there are chapters 38-42 in the book of Job.
7.           Luke 22:31,32 - On the human level Peter's denial of Jesus is a lack of faith.

Luke 22:31,32
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

8.           But here we get a glimpse of a heavenly battle going on as well.
9.           Peter will be sifted by Satan.
10.       Jesus is also a participant in this heavenly battle.
11.       He prays that Peter's faith would not completely fail.
12.       Ephesians 6:12 - There is an invisible realm of conflict about which we know little and yet we are intimately involved in the struggle.

Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” {flesh...: Gr. blood and flesh} {spiritual...: or, wicked spirits} {high: or, heavenly}

13.       This struggle causes suffering for us and yet is largely beyond our ability to comprehend.

No comments:

Post a Comment