Friday, August 15, 2008

9 Reasons For Suffering

Last Sunday I brought a message on The Great Questions Of The Bible. The question that we considered dealt with the reasons that God allows His children to suffer. Since this is so relevant I thought it might be helpful to share some of this material with you. The 9 reasons that God allows His people to pass through times of sorrow and suffering can be found in my message at

1. Sorrows and sufferings make us like Christ.

a. Jesus was the man of sorrows.

b. When we suffer and are filled with sorrows, we are most like our Lord.

2. Sorrows and sufferings drive us to our knees in prayer.
a. It has been said, “When the barn is full, we don’t often
seek the Lord.”
b. Psalm 130:1, “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O

3. Sorrows and sufferings jolt us out of our indifference.
a. C. S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our joys, but
screams to us in our sorrows.”
b. The Psalmist said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I have kept thy word.” Psalm 119:67

4. Sorrows and sufferings teach us to die to self.
a. Dying to self is one of the great secrets of the Christian
b. Jesus explained the importance of dying to self when He
said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat
fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die,
it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24.

5. Sorrows and sufferings teach us to be broken before God.
a. Brokenness is similar to dying to self. When we are
broken like the alabaster box the fragrance of the
indwelling Christ flows out to touch the lives of those
around us.
b. Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a
broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
c. In her book Brokenness The Heart God Revives, Nancy
Demoss gives us the traits or marks of true brokenness.

1. Broken people are more conscious of their own
spiritual need than of anyone else’s.
2. Broken people are compassionate people.
3. Broken people have the kind of love that overlooks a
multitude of sins; they can forgive much because they
know how much they have been forgiven.
4. Broken people encourage, and lift up those that God
has placed in positions of authority, and they talk to
God in intercession, rather than gossiping about the
faults they see in others.
5. Broken people yield their rights and have a meek spirit.
6. Broken people are motivated to serve others and to be
sure other’s needs are met before their own.
7. Broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make
others successful.
8. Broken people desire to promote others.
9. Broken people are eager for others to get the credit, and
they rejoice when others are lifted up.
10. Broken people are humbled by how much they have to
11. Broken people are not preoccupied with what others
think of them.
12. Broken people accept personal responsibility and can
acknowledge where they were wrong in a situation.
13. Broken people take the initiative to be reconciled, no
matter how wrong the other party may have been.
14. Broken people receive correction with a humble, open
15. Broken people give thanks in all things; they are quick
to forgive those who wrong them.

6. Sorrows and sufferings test our faith.
a. Jeremiah 12:5, “If thou hast run with the footmen, and they
have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with
horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst,
they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of
b. We must learn to walk by faith and not by sight.

7. Sorrows and sufferings reveal our character.
a. How we respond to sorrows and sufferings reveals the
spiritual depths of our souls.
b. Do we respond to trials and tragedies with Christ-like
grace and love, or do we react in the flesh with anger, self-
pity and resentment?

8. Sorrows and sufferings bring Christ near to our hearts.
a. This was seen in Daniel when the three Hebrew boys were
thrown into the fiery furnace and Jesus was seen to be in
the furnace with them.
b. Sorrows and sufferings bring the heart of God close to us.
Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a
broken heart, and saveth such as are of a contrite spirit.”

9. Sorrows and sufferings make God’s promises a blessing to us.
a. Isa. 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not
dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I
will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand
of my righteousness.”
b. John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto
you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your
heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
c. Deut. 33:27, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and
underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust
out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy
d. Nehemiah 8:10, “Then he said unto them, Go your way,
eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto
them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy
unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord
is your strength.”
e. Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hop,
through the power of the Holy Ghost.”