In this series, we are exploring many topics concerning doubt in God or Christianity. Pastor Miles brings answers to the church through this message series, explaining what to do with our doubts and how we can learn to trust God. This week we learn about pain and suffering.
We all have pain, loss, and suffering in our lives. This can seem unfair to us, but remember that if life were fair, then we would be expected to die for our own sin! God actually gave us the gracious gift of salvation when we didn’t deserve it. As “unfair” or unfortunate as pain may feel, God can take negative experiences in our lives and turn them into something good. We must learn to surrender our pain to God so that He can transform us and accomplish what He wants to accomplish.
In today’s story from Luke 22, can you identify with the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane? He is preparing to be wrongly arrested, tortured, interrogated, and crucified - all for something He didn’t do. Jesus was about to experience the betrayal and denial of His friends and God the Father would experience the loss of His beloved child.
Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” Luke 22:39-46
Jesus knows that the coming experience is not what He wants, but that there is no other way to defeat sin. (If there had been another way to save us, then Jesus would not have had to die!) So He humbles Himself to the Father’s will and sacrifices Himself for us.
1. The Father’s story offers a happy ending to your pain. Philippians 2:8-10, Romans 8:16-17
It doesn’t matter what you are going through right now - God knows and has promised to be there.
You are living out the middle of your story right now and in the end, if Christ is your Savior, you will die and go to heaven. If not, you will be separated from God in hell and no longer have the hope and peace He offers.
The devil wants to destroy your relationship with the Father, break your trust, and raise your doubts about His faithfulness, love, and power. He wants you to blame God for all the problems and pain in your life. But God is not responsible for the cheating, manipulation, and harm of other people. In fact, He offers the help to get through it and the final victorious resolution.
If we have an incorrect perception of God, then we are disappointed because our expectations are not met. God did not promise to make our lives easy; He promised to walk with us.
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name Philippians 2:8-9
Jesus suffered the worst kind of death that anyone could experience in that time - He was wrongly accused, betrayed, beaten, tortured, and crucified. He humbled Himself and entered into the battle for your sake, suffering for your sin.
Although there is no such thing as an earthly life without drama and suffering, the Bible reassures us:
...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Romans 8:16-17
It is so important to stay connected with God on a spiritual level. Pray that He reminds you that you are His child, a joint heir with Christ. Although you will suffer in this life, you will also be glorified with Him.
Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10
Though we may not understand our suffering while it is happening, we can trust that His promises are true and that in the end, He is preparing a place for us.
2. The Son of God suffered for you and as you and with you. Philippians 2:8
Jesus suffered for you because there was no way that a sinner could fully and permanently atone for sin. Only the sinless Son of God could do that, so He took on the burden of sin and suffered death.
He suffered as you because He was God who selflessly humbled Himself and became a man. As a man, He suffered the agony of pain in the human body, He suffered temptation (and yet was without sin), He suffered the betrayal and denial of friends, and even separation from His Father when He became sin. He knows and understands human suffering.
He suffers with you because He promises never to leave or forsake you. He understands your pain and is with you through it all.
3. The Spirit of God comforts and transforms us through our pain. John 14:26, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
One of the most powerful, humble, and spiritual things you can pray to God when you’re suffering is to ask Him: What do You want me to learn?
Suffering is not fair; it hurts and we don’t like it, but we can still look to God and search for the ways in which He is trying to change us. God can allow evil in your life to change you for the better and do you good.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. John 14:26
Parakletos [Helper, comforter] – to come alongside of, to comfort, encourage, or exhort, referring to an aid of any kind, an advocate, one who comes forward on behalf of.
As you experience pain, call upon the Holy Spirit to come with you and give you strength, wisdom, and patience.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Are you experiencing hardships right now?
- You are only in the middle of your story.
- In the end, you will be with Christ and will have no more pain!
- The Holy Spirit wants to comfort you now. Trust HIm and accept His companionship and support.
- Bring your suffering, pain, and doubts to the Lord. He wants to help you and be with you.