Session 3: Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering?

Watch the video above then discuss as a group:

1. Can you think of a time in your life when you asked the question "Why?" If you're willing, please share with the group.

2. Read Romans 8:18-23. What does the Bible say about the impact of suffering? How does that make you feel?

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. 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 corruption 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. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

3. Read Hebrews 4:15 and Matthew 26:38-39. What does this passage say about Christ and what He endured as a man on earth?

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Watch the video above then discuss as a group:

4. On a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult is it for you to reconcile the existence of both suffering and God (1 = easy; 10 = impossible)? Why?

5. “Some of the best lessons I’ve learned in life . . . came from very painful times.” In what ways might good come from bad? Do you have any experience with this?

6. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-6. How does this passage comfort you?

3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

The Problem of Evil states that an all-powerful and perfectly good God would not allow evil to exist in the world. Responses to this argument vary within Christianity and other faiths. Maybe it’s a test of our faith. Or perhaps God is simply unable to change our circumstances.

Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” In this passage, the Apostle Paul suggests that something good always comes of something bad. Indeed, a few verses later he affirms that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” In what ways might your pain and suffering reveal something good and beautiful in the world one day?

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