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Dealing With Pain and Suffering

PAIN comes in many forms:

 

Emotional, Physical, Spiritual, Worldly

 

From many sources:  Family, friends, children, marriage, job, self…

 

All pain is interrelated.  When one part of hurts, it ALL suffers.

Physical pain can lead to emotional suffering and discourage our spiritual health.

 

Types of PAIN:

 

Obvious Pain – pain we can feel, see or acknowledge.

Invisible Pain – pain we don’t quite understand or that we don’t know we have

Outward Pain – pain that others can see.  We may or may not see it.

Inward Pain – pain that we know but do not disclose

Pain can be in a combination of these forms.

 

Emotional:  Burdens, depression, anxiety, fear, worry, doubt, lonesomeness, anger, hatred, rage, grief, discouragement

 

Physical:  Sickness, cancer, disease, fatigue, soreness, injury, ‘medical’ reasons for pain

 

Spiritual:  Apathy, rebellion, lack of spiritual guidance, scripture being ignored, fellowship refusal, sinfulness, temptation, guilt

 

Worldly:  poverty, destruction, disaster, crime, death, persecution, governmental

 

Reasons for PAIN:

 

Because of SIN in the world

Because of SIN in our lives

Because of FAITH – when we get closer to Christ, more obedient, sometimes we suffer more

Because of FELLOWSHIP – we suffer so that we might help others who suffer

Because of FUTURE – we suffer so that we might be made stronger for a task yet to come

Because CHRISTIANS have been commissioned for suffering

 

Matthew 24:9 (ESV)

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.

 

Colossians 1:24 (ESV)

24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

 

2 Timothy 1:8 (ESV)

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,

 

2 Timothy 2:3 (ESV)

3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

 

2 Timothy 4:5 (ESV)

5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

 

What is the real meaning of pain and suffering?

 

Romans 8:18-28 (ESV)

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

 

CONSIDER – Paul is contrasting two things:  SIN and GRACE

 

Sufferings – resulting from the sinfulness of mankind – will end

Glory – resulting from the Grace of Christ – has no end

 

ALL Sufferings are here… there is NO comparison to GRACE.

APPLICATION:  No matter how difficult your life is, your pain is, etc.  It is nothing if you focus on the Grace of God IN you.  If you don’t have it IN you, today is your day!

 

ENCOURAGEMENT! – Paul is writing this to the church in Rome so they would be encouraged, have hope and JOY!

 

Present Time – Our ‘day’ is a day awaiting Christ’s DAY

 

REVEALED TO or IN us – more accurately… God’s glory is IN us as believers

We are redeemed, with hope, and JOY

 

THIS IS ENOUGH from this text, but Paul decides to reiterate.

 

BECAUSE of this great GRACE and never ending JOY, we and everything else GROAN for the ‘DAY’ when we ‘see’ it in the flesh.  Our resurrection.

 

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope

21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

 

 Creation Groans:

What is this creation?

 

Several created things do NOT groan to see Christ and be fulfilled in Him.

APPLICATION:  What about you?  Are you part of the group of creation that groans to see Him, that everything in you is waiting with great anticipation to be with Christ?  Like Christ?

 

Creation here does not include: 

Angels – they were not subject to the ‘futility’ of sinfulness

20 For the creation was subjected to futility

 

Demons – they will not submit to Christ and have no way of redemption

Jude 1:6 (ESV)

6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—

 

The Lost – they do NOT want Christ and therefore do not groan to see Him

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 (ESV)

8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

 

The Saved – they are described here in verse 19 “sons of God”

So this revealing of those who believe to creation is the sign to NATURE that Christ has made all things new, including nature.

 

Psalm 96:12 (ESV)

12 let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy

 

Psalm 98:8 (ESV)

8 Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together

 

Isaiah 35:1 (ESV)

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;

 

Isaiah 55:12 (ESV)

12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

 

APPLICATION:  Creation longs for renewal, how about you?  What is the longing of your heart, to be made like Christ, without sin?  To rest in the Grace of God?  Even TREES recognize the sweet redemption of Christ – so are we not as intelligent as trees!?

 

Creation was subjected to sin because of man’s rebellion and because of Christ’s redemption it will be glorified.

 

APPLICATION:  Imagine the greatness of all we see in this world.  Now consider that greatness as stained and diseased because of man’s sin.  “We ain’t seen nothing yet!”

 

Isaiah 11:6-9 (ESV)

6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.

7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.

9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

 

 

23 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.

24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

 

WE, even though we have Christ already, are EAGER and GROAN to be renewed…

 

First Fruits:

Deuteronomy 18:4 (ESV)

4 The firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give him.

 

HOLY SPIRIT – the first ‘taste’ and ‘power’ of what is to come.

 

Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV)

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,

14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

 

APPLICATION:  The Holy Spirit in the believer is enough for this world – we are sealed and saved by His power.  Transformed and regenerated for God’s presence.  BUT because we are indwelt we then see the great ‘void’ awaiting to be renewed with God in the flesh and our flesh. 

 

How does this fair in your mind and heart?  How sweet is this picture?  Do you yearn to be free of pain and suffering just to live for your flesh?  Do you yearn to be free of the sorrow and sin to be joined forever with Christ?

 

Romans 8:11 (ESV)

11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

 

Philippians 3:21 (ESV)

21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

 

1 John 3:2 (ESV)

2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

 

“In this HOPE we were saved.”

This is NOT a contrast of FAITH…

In hope… “we have some now, but we’ll get more later.”

 

APPLICATION:  We are saved and sealed by faith in Christ alone

Ephesians 2:8 (ESV)

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

 

However, we are not ‘saved’ per se from the sin of this world and the pain of life.  Yes, we will be taken into the presence of God but this side of eternity is not complete.

 

Don’t weigh your spiritual life and hope in the scales of ‘this day’ but in the HOPE of “THE DAY” of the Lord!

 

“We do not see Christ now… But He IS coming to take us with Him… if He were here already, we would not need to “hope” because we would ‘have’.

 

HAVE vs. HOPE – APPLICATION:  What do you ‘have’ now and what do you ‘hope’ for later?  Christ alone s the only hope that matters and will reward you and fulfill you.

 

Hebrews 6:19-20 (ESV)

19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,

20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

 

APPLICATION:  We will NOT see perfection or painless lives.  Anyone who teaches this is a liar and should be ignored and rebuked.

 

Also, we need to consider our ‘place’ as no different than anyone else, even a lost person.  Our ‘position’ is different, but we are no better of a person.  We ‘ain’t there yet.’ – as some might claim.

 

YOU and everyone else in this life is going to suffer pain and there is NOTHING can do to stop it.  BUT our HOPE is in Christ and our LIFE is in Christ and our GLORY is in Him!

PATIENTLY wait for Christ with JOY in suffering and pain.

 

 

HOW you might ask?

 

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

 

Again the HOLY SPIRIT or “first fruits”

 

2 Corinthians 4:18 (ESV)

18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

 

We NEED the Holy spirit.  Our weakness and sinfulness does not allow us to persevere and have joy.  Our attitudes are the opposite of the spirit of God.

 

Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

 

Spirit prays FOR us.  When we do not know what or how to pray effectively, God’s will is done for us and in us.

 

Cady praying for grandmother to live.  Spirit praying for her to die.

 

Our lesson for life in the death of Jane Adams:

  • Devotion – our family was dearly fond of her.  Loved her so much as she was a benevolent and wise woman.
  • Dependence – our family stood behind her as she led the charge to ‘be there’ in any situation.  Our hope was in her and that she would always help us in our times of need.  Prayers were not important to us because we knew she was praying.
  • Delight – Ultimately, our focus and faith was in the life and ministry of Jane Adams – it was time for us to depend on Christ and in her death, Christ was glorified.

 

CHRIST:  intercedes as HIGH PRIEST

Romans 8:34 (ESV)

34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

 

1 John 2:1 (ESV)

1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

 

SPIRIT:  Intercedes as HELPER PERFECTER

John 14:16-17 (ESV)

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,

17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

 

HOLY SPIRIT knows us and sees our hearts and minds.  He also knows the mind of God and sees the conflict.  So He perfectly knows how and when to intercede.

 

When we fail to pray.  He convicts us to ask God for help.

When we are to weak to trust.  He gives us a reflection of hope.

When we cannot continue.  He maintains us and sustains us.

 

DISCIPLINES:  TALKING – Prayer; TAKING – Word; TOGETHER – Church

 

Hebrews 4:13 (ESV)

13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

APPLICATION:  “But you don’t know what kind of pain and suffering I am experiencing.”  No, but you don’t know mine either.

 

Paul had it, felt it and this was HIS conclusion based on his life’s experiences with the holy spirit:

 

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

WE KNOW – who is we?  All believers.

 

Know – not think, wish, wonder – but absolutely know!

 

ALL THINGS WORK FOR GOOD –

James 1:12 (ESV)

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

 

James 2:5 (ESV)

5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

 

Romans 8:35-39 (ESV)

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,

39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

CALLED TO HIS PURPOSE – back to the beginning…

 

Look at Romans 8:1

Romans 8:1 (ESV)

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

Matthew 5:10-12 (ESV)

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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