Sermons

You Asked For It (1/3): If God Is Good, Why Is There Suffering?

8 July 2019
Daniel Tan, Pastor

IF GOD IS GOOD, WHY IS THERE SUFFERING
Text: Genesis 3:14-19
Series: You Asked For It

Suffering is certain in anyone’s life – we may be able to mitigate suffering but we cannot escape it. During such moments, we may question God’s goodness. Since suffering is inevitable, how should we make sense of it?

Discussion Guide

Where does suffering come from?

Briefly share what is one suffering that you are currently going through or have gone through in the past? If not, what is one suffering that you see in the world right now? When man first sinned by rebelling against God and disobeying his command (Gen 2:16-17; 3:6), God who is holy and righteous punished their sin. Read God’s judgment pronounced in Gen 3:14-19: 1) Constant struggle between the forces of evil and the human race (v15), 2) Mankind will experience physical and mental suffering on this earth until they die (v16-19), 3) The ground is cursed, bringing imbalance to all creation (v17-18). How do the above-mentioned play out in the suffering we experience and/or witness today? How do you feel about living in a fallen world?

God’s attributes and suffering

Sometimes we suffer because of our own sins. Sometimes we suffer through no fault of our own but from the sins of others. Why do you think people’s experience or witness of suffering might cause them to doubt God’s goodness? How does knowing that God is all knowing and eternal help you to understand suffering? From the Bible, we learn of accounts where God used suffering and evil for the good of those who put their trust in Him. Can you recall some of these accounts? What do they say about God’s character in times of hardship and how his people should respond? What is a word or encouragement or comfort you can glean from the Bible?

Coping with suffering

When we have God in our life, suffering can be meaningful. We may not have all the answers to why we suffer, but we have God who walks with us in our pain and works in us for His glory. Which of the points resonates most with you: Through suffering, (i) God draws us closer to him, (ii) God trains us in his holy character (Heb 12:10), (iii) God offers us the opportunity to trust in his sovereignty (Isa 55:8-9). Why? How can we learn from the example of Job when we wonder why bad things happen to good people (Job 42:1-3)? How does knowing that there will be an end to suffering and evil (Rev 21:1-4) help us to cope with present afflictions? How can we encourage for one another during times of suffering? How will we respond when our pre-believing friend asks: If God is good, why is there suffering? Looking to the cross where Jesus suffered and died for our sins, how can we gain strength and courage to persevere in faith through our hardships?

Reflection Questions

Where does suffering come from?

When man first sinned by rebelling against God and disobeying his command (Gen 2:16-17; 3:6), God who is holy and righteous punished their sin. Read Gen 3:14-19 – how does God’s pronouncement of judgment in these verses play out in the suffering we experience or see today?

God’s attributes and suffering

Why do you think people’s experience or witness of suffering might cause them to doubt God’s goodness? How does knowing that God is all knowing and eternal help you to understand suffering?

Coping with suffering

How can we learn from the example of Job when we wonder why bad things happen to good people (Job 42:1-3)? How does knowing that there will be an end to suffering and evil (Rev 21:1-4) help us to cope with present afflictions? Looking to the cross where Jesus suffered and died for our sins, how can we gain strength and courage to persevere in faith through our hardships?