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The Problem of Suffering

How Can We Prepare for It?

TEXTJob 5:6-7;  Psa. 88:9

INTRODUCTION:

A.      IN OUR LESSONS WE HAVE LOOKED AT WHY GOD ALLOWS SUFFERING AND

          WHAT ITS CAUSES MIGHT BE.

B.      HOW CAN WE PREPARE OURSELVES FOR SUFFERING.

C.      WE CAN PREPARE FOR SUFFERING BY DEVELOPING:

I.      TRUST IN GOD THROUGH AN BIBLE STUDY.

A.      SCRIPTURES ABOUND WITH PROMISES THAT GOD IS WITH US.

          1.       In the Old Testament( Psa. 46:1-3;  55:22 ).

          2.       In the New Testament( Rom. 8:35-39;  1 Pet. 5:6-7 ).

B.      BUT WE MUST TRUST HIS PROMISES( Nahum 1:7;  Isa. 26:3-4 ).

C.      HOW DO WE DEVELOP SUCH TRUST?

          1.       Trust comes through the Word of God!( Rom. 10:17 ).

          2.       The Word develops trust which sustains in all things( Psa. 119:165;  1:1-3).

II.     COMMUNION WITH GOD THROUGH PRAYER.

A.      WE ARE TO PRAY IN TIMES OF SUFFERING( James 5:13 ).

          1.       Jesus certainly did during His greatest trials

                   a.       In the garden of Gethsemane( Matt. 26:36-44 ).

                   b.       While on the cross at Calvary( Luke 23:34, 46 ).

          2.       The early church prayed when they were persecuted( Acts 12:1-5, 12 ).

B.      THIS IS BECAUSE IN PRAYER

          1.       We receive the inner peace necessary to sustain us in our trials( Phil. 4:6-7 ).

          2.       The time to start praying is NOW before suffering comes( Jer. 12:5 ).

          3.       God will already be a FRIEND with Whom we are close, and not a stranger!

III.    FELLOWSHIP THROUGH CHURCH ATTENDANCE.

A.      SOLOMON WROTE OF THE VALUE OF HAVING FRIENDS ( Ecc. 4:9-12 ).

          1.       They can help each other in their troubles

          2.       But "woe" to those who must face suffering alone!

B.      THE CHURCH PROVIDES THIS KIND OF MUTUAL ENCOURAGEMENT

          1.       We are to have the same care for one another( 1 Cor. 12:24-27 ).

          2.       The strong are exhorted to help those who are weak( 1 Thess. 5:14 ).

C.      THE BEST WAY TO DEVELOP SUCH HELPFUL RELATIONSHIPS

          1.       Be active in the local church, become involved, make your presence felt.

                   a.       By frequent and consistent assembling with the church

                   b.       By voluntary participation in the work of the church

                   c.       Visit sick, help the needy, encourage the weak, welcome new members.

                   d.       So become more than just a "pew-warmer"!

          2.       Those who do such things never lack support in their time of trouble!

                   ( Psa. 37:25;  Matt. 6:33 ).

CONCLUSION:

A.      BY DEVELOPING THESE THINGS WE WILL BE BETTER PREPARED FOR SUFFERING.

B.      BURDENS CAN EITHER SHATTER OR STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH.

          1.       Do we have trust in God( Psa. 55:22 ).

          2.       That trust comes from hearing and believing his promises.

C.      THE TIME FOR SUFFERING WILL COME ( Ecc. 3:1-8 ).

D.      STILL WE WILL RELY UPON GOD THROUGH JESUS ( Heb. 4:14-16 ).

E.      MERCY AND GRACE IS OURS IN TIME OF NEED.