Bible Studies for Life, Jan. 12
Why does suffering exist?
Genesis 3:16-19, Romans 8:18-25
David Cardoza, pastor
Yo Soy Calvario Baptist Church in Lilburn
Consultant, West Central and East Central regions, Georgia Baptist Hispanic Ministries
Often it is this question that brings individuals to doubt if there is a God, but for the believer, that does not need to be the case. From the onset of scriptures God reveals to His creation why the world can be so harsh, and why suffering has plagued civilization since before recorded history.
Genesis 3:16-19, when understood in its context, is the aftermath of a rebellion from Adam and Eve to disobey God. They went from revealing God’s glory, as His pinnacle of creation, to trying to usurp that glory by deciding what was right and what was wrong on their own. They failed miserably.
The result was that the women would now “in pain … bring forth children” and the man would with “the sweat of [his face would] eat bread,” and the land would be “cursed.” Therefore, suffering exists, but the other question we need to ask is: “How does the believer live knowing he will suffer? Suffering is a part of living in a fallen world, however, as Christians we can deal with suffering through:
The right perspective regarding our future (Romans 8:18)
“For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
When our perspective is on the here and now, it is very easy to fall into despair. With the rise of social media, our problems take the forefront of our newsfeeds. The world’s problems are magnified as we feel it bite in our daily lives.
There are rumors of war, racial strife, and other harboring issues we read about. But, what if, our perspective was on the things of God? This verse tells us that what God has promised exceeds anything we are going through right now. What is your perspective? Is it focused on what you are going through, or is your perspective focused on your future? (Which is in Gods mighty hands).
The right patience regarding our feelings (Romans 8:19, 23)
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God… And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
We have become accustomed to having things here and now. “There is no time to wait” is the motto, and often we want God to act that way with us.
However, God is not bound by time or space. We cannot base our Christian walk on our feelings. But rather, we must base our walk on God’s promises.
When will He fulfill his promises? We do not know, nor do we need to. Suffering is a part of our fallen world, but the right patience is to “eagerly wait” patiently knowing that he will come again.
The right practice regarding our faith (Romans 8:24)
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?”
This hope is based on having faith that He will return for those whom He as redeemed. So, the right practice regarding our faith is to practice the Christian life, not out of despair, but with a living hope in a living Savior. We practice our faith in the middle of the suffering around us with confidence and not with fear, with a conviction that our faith is in a risen Christ.
Suffering exists because sin entered the world and all of creation has had to deal with the brunt of its consequences ever since Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of Eden. Nevertheless, we have been given the power to deal with suffering through the power of the Holy Spirit and His Son Jesus Christ. So, we have the power to have the right perspective regarding our future, the right kind of patience to deal with our feelings, and the right way to practice our faith.