Pastor Mac Hammond | March 28, 2021
Some people assume God’s protection over godly people means that suffering should not be a part of godly people’s lives. However, that is not the case. As Pastor Mac pointed out this past weekend, godliness is a mystery and it does involve suffering. Jesus exemplified this mystery by leaving heaven to come to earth and display both God’s royalty and majesty, as the people praised Him for on Palm Sunday, as well as the suffering that enabled Him to mature into His calling: Our Redeemer. Suffering is a part of the godly life, and we must understand how to handle the suffering life brings.
Why do bad things happen to good people? It’s a question that has been prevalent for centuries. People have trouble reconciling the idea that God is a loving God who takes care of His people and God allows suffering to happen—but just because it’s hard to understand doesn’t mean that it is true.
You see, suffering is one of the mysteries of godliness. Suffering involves pain, but it is what will make you mature. Just as suffering matured Jesus into His calling as our Redeemer, we too will mature into God’s calling on our lives through suffering.
Suffering should never be attributed to the judgment or chastisement of the Lord. Suffering is not something God inflicts, but it is something He allows. It is His permissive will. Put it this way: God made you an overcomer, not so you can float along on a puffy faith cloud unharmed by life. God made you an overcomer so you could overcome whatever comes your way! Your faith will be tested through suffering, but praise God, your faith can grow stronger and become better on the other side of what you’re going through.
1 Timothy 3:16 KJV
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
1 Timothy 3:16 Msg.
This Christian life is a great mystery, far exceeding our understanding, but some things are clear enough: He appeared in a human body, was proved right by the invisible Spirit, was seen by angels. He was proclaimed among all kinds of peoples, believed in all over the world, taken up into heavenly glory.
Matthew 21:6-10 KJV
And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
Matthew 21:10 Msg.
As he made his entrance into Jerusalem, the whole city was shaken. Unnerved, people were asking, “What’s going on here? Who is this?”
Hebrews 5:8-9 KJV
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
1 Peter 5:10 KJV
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 KJV
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
1. How do our choices create or eliminate the suffering we face?
2. How should we handle adversity we can’t control, such as adversity we’re in because of our family or adversity that is created by our leaders?
3. When have you seen God show you a way of escape out of adversity?
4. What’s one way you can endure suffering well? Do you know someone who is a good role model in this area?
5. How does joy play a part in dealing with adversity? How can you be joyful when you’re facing a sad situation? What does God’s joy look like in the middle of adversity?