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If Messiah Has Come, Why Are We Suffering?

Dec 20, 2015 Sunday AM
Isaiah 11:1-9
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Study Notes

It's not hard to undersand why the Jews of the 1st century were looking for a "Deliverer." People were suffering in every way possible and no one was able to fix the problems. A simple reading of Isaiah 11 describes One who who will put all things in right order. It is the longing of most people...will someone please "change the world." If Jesus has come as we celebrate, why is suffering so present?

  1. Reasons for Suffering
    The Bible describes a variety of reasons:
    • Bad Choices...
    • Good Choices...
    • Grief...
    • Mystery...
  2. Responses to Suffering
    1. Theodicy
      A human attempt to vindicate God's reputation...to try to explain what He has not explained...
      "...but sometimes, God refuses to be figured out..." ~M. Horton
    2. Disappointment
      Without a balance of biblical information and confidence in God's character people can become bitter, cold, skeptical and filled with resentment.
  3. Repentance about Suffering
    1. God's love doesn't change
      Romans 8
    2. God doesn't like suffering either
      We can join Him in His disgust and do our part while we are here. This is not the end of the story!
    3. Suffering does have some value...
      • Severe mercy... Acts 16:30
      • God's glory... John 11:4
      • Character development... Romans 5:3-4
      • Comfort to others... 2 Corinthians 1
    4. Suffering doesn't have to be permanent
      The best is yet to come for those who take God seriously. See Revelation 21:1-4!

Conclusion

Suffering is evidence of the "wobble in this world." Our awareness of what could be should be evidence that we are made for something better. The First Advent made the way, the Second Advent will reveal it!

Some questions for family, small group or personal reflection

  1. Review the reasons for suffering. Do you have any examples?
  2. What is theodicy? Is this system helpful or harmful?

Suggested means for growth

Take some time to reflect on your own spiritual growth, did you learn more in comfort or affliction? Read Psalm 119:65-72, was suffering of any benefit to the author?

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