1. Who causes suffering?--God or the devil?

A. The devil causes much of man's suffering:

                (See Acts 10:38; Mat.15:22; Lk.8:29b; 2Tim.2:26.)

B. But it is God Who allows the devil to bring suffering:

                Job 1:8-19              [God allowed Satan to bring Job to ruin with fire, raiding bandits & a violent storm]

                Job 2:3-7                [God allowed the devil to afflict Job with boils]

                (See also 1Cor.5:5; 1Tim.1:20.)

C. God is ultimately responsible for allowing suffering:

                Exo.4:11  Who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or blind? Have not I?

                1Sam.2:6,7              The Lord killeth, maketh alive, maketh

                Isa.45:7   I make peace, & create evil; I the Lord do all these

                Amos 3:6b             Be (calamity) in a city, & (hath not) the Lord done it?

                (See also Deut.32:39; 2Chr.15:2b,5,6; Job 12:14-25; Psa.66:10-12a; Mic.1:12b.)


2. Why does God allow the righteous to suffer?

A. He has a loving reason for everything He does:

                Rom.8:28                All things work together for good to...the called

                Gen.45:4-8              Be not grieved...that ye sold me [as a slave]: for God did send me before you to preserve life

                Gen.50:20               Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good

                Psa.119:71              It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes

                Jer.37:15,16; 38:28 [Jeremiah spent a long time in prison, but was safe there when Jerusalem was destroyed--Jer.39:11-14]

                Jon.2:1-7a              [Jonah suffered in the fish's belly but it saved him from drowning & took him to land--Jon.1:15,17; 2:10.]

B. Suffering is often God's loving chastisement:

                Pro.3:11,12             Whom the Lord loveth He correcteth

                Heb.12:5-12           Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth

                Rev.3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke & chasten

                (See also Deut.8:5; Job 5:17; 1Cor.11:32.)

C. God's chastisements are righteous:

                Neh.9:33 Thou art just in all that is brought upon us

                Psa.119:75              I know that Thy judgments are right, & that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me

                Psa.19:9b               The judgments of the Lord are true & righteous

                Pro.26:2  The curse causeless shall not come

                Jer.17:10 I the Lord search the give every man...according to the fruit of his doings

                (See also Ezk.14:22,23; Heb.12:11.)

D. Our suffering is less than we deserve:

                Ezra 9:13 God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve

                Psa.78:38,39           Full of compassion...many a time turned He His anger

                Psa.103:10-14        He hath not dealt with us after our sins

E. Continue to trust Him, even though you don't understand:

                Pro.3:5    Trust in Lord...lean not unto thine own understanding

                Isa.55:8,9                Neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord


3. Some specific reasons that God allows suffering:

A. Suffering has been a fact of life since the fall of man:

                Gen.3:16-19            [Suffering brought into the world by the fall of man]

                Job 5:6,7 Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward

                (See also Job 14:1; Psa.90:10.)

B. We often bring on suffering by sin & disobedience:

                Gen.42:21               We are guilty...therefore is distress come upon us

                Job 4:8    They that plow iniquity & sow wickedness reap the same

                Psa.31:9,10             I am in trouble...grief...because of mine iniquity

                Psa.38:1-8              There is no soundness in my flesh...because of my sin

                Psa.107:17              Fools...because of their iniquities, are afflicted

                Isa.66:4   [Ignoring God & doing evil brings on mental anguish, fears & delusions]

                Jer.5:25   Your sins have withholden good things from you

                (See also Jer.30:15; Lam.1:20.)

C. Because we're disbelieving or disobeying God's Word:

                Deut.11:28             A curse, if ye will not obey the commandments

                Psa.78:32,33           They believed not...their years He consumed in trouble

                Psa.89:30-32 If (they) forsake My law...visit transgression with rod

                (See also Psa.107:11,12)


4. Suffering because of obedience & righteousness:

A. Sufferings & privations while serving God:

                Acts 20:19             Serving the Lord with many tears & temptations

                1Cor.4:11                We hunger, thirst, are naked, buffeted

                2Cor.1:8  [Paul's] trouble...pressed out of measure, above strength, despaired even of life

                2Cor.11:23-30        [Paul's many sufferings & troubles]

                Phi.2:27a,30           Sick nigh unto death, to supply your lack of service

                (See also 2Cor.6:4-10)

B. Suffering caused by persecution:

                Phi.1:29  For unto you it is given...not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake

                2Tim.3:12               All that live godly in Jesus shall suffer persecution

                2Tim.1:8 Be not ashamed, but partaker of afflictions of gospel

                Heb.11:25               Choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God

                Heb.11:35b-38       [Saints tortured, cruelly mocked, scourged, imprisoned, slain, destitute, afflicted, tormented]

                (See Rom.8:35-37; 1Pet.2:19-21; 3:16,17; Rev.2:10.)


5. The benefits & good fruits of suffering:

A. Suffering causes you to seek His Word:

                Deut.8:2,3              That He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by (the) Word

                Psa.94:12                Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, O Lord, & teachest him out of Thy law

                Psa.119:71              I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes

B. Suffering refines & purifies you:

                Job 23:10                When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold

                Psa.66:10                Thou, O God, hast proved us...tried us, as silver

                Isa.48:10 I have refined the furnace of affliction

                Zech.13:9               And I will...refine them as silver is refined

                Heb.12:9-11           Chastened...that we be partakers of His holiness

                (See also Pro.17:3; Isa.1:25.)

C. It teaches you obedience:

                Psa.119:67              Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word

                Heb.5:8   Yet learned He obedience by things which He suffered

                (See also 2Cor.7:10a,11)

D. It causes you to bring forth more fruit:

                Jn.15:2    He (prunes) it, that it may bring forth more fruit

E. It humbles you:

                Deut.8:2,16            The Lord led thee in the wilderness, to humble thee

                2Chr.33:12              When he was in affliction, he humbled himself greatly Lam.3:1,17-20 Remembering mine humbled

F. It teaches you patience:

                Rom.5:3b                Tribulation worketh (teaches us) patience

G. It makes you wiser:

                Eccl.7:2,3                Sorrow is better...the living will lay it to heart

H. It gives you compassion & mercy on others:

                2Cor.1:4  That we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we are comforted

                Heb.2:17 [As with Jesus, it teaches you to be merciful]

                Heb.2:18 He Himself hath suffered...He is able to succour them

                Heb.4:15 Be touched with the feeling of [others'] infirmities

I. It draws you close to & makes you appreciate loved ones:

                2Cor.7:4-7              We were troubled on every side...nevertheless, God... comforted us by the coming of Titus


6. Rewards in Heaven for earthly suffering:

                Lk.16:19-25            [Lazarus the beggar rewarded & comforted]

                Rom.8:18                Sufferings of present time not worthy to be compared

                2Cor.1:7  As ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation

                2Cor.4:17                Our light affliction...worketh for us a far more exceeding & eternal weight of glory

                2Tim.2:12a             If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him

                Rev.21:4 Shall be no more death...sorrow...crying...pain


7. Remember, Jesus also suffered:

                Heb.4:15 [He] was in all points tempted (tested) like as we are

                Heb.12:3 Consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners ...lest ye be wearied & faint in your minds

A. The reasons that Jesus suffered:

                Isa.53:3   He hath borne our griefs, & carried our sorrows

                Isa.53:4,5                He was wounded for our transgressions...& with His stripes we are healed (See also 1Pet.2:24)

                Heb.2:9,10              Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings

                1Pet.3:18                Suffered for sins, that He might bring us to God

                (See also Heb.2:17,18; 4:15; 5:7,8.)

B. Follow His example of enduring suffering:

                Rom.8:17b              If we suffer with glorified together

                Phi.3:10  That I may know the fellowship of His sufferings

                1Pet.2:21                Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example

                1Pet.4:1  As Christ hath suffered for us, arm yourselves


8. The right attitude toward suffering:

                Job 13:15a              Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him

                Phi.3:8    I suffered loss of all things, that I may win Christ

A. Endure suffering patiently:

                Jer.10:19 Truly this is a grief, & I must bear it

                Lam.3:24-26           Lord is my portion...hope & quietly wait in Him

                Rom.12:12a            Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation

                2Tim.4:5 Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions

                Heb.12:7 If ye endure...God dealeth with you as with sons

                1Pet.4:19                Let them that suffer...commit the keeping of their souls to Him (God) in well doing

B. Pray for strength to endure suffering:

                Lk.18:1    Men ought always to pray, & not to faint

                Jam.5:13 Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray

C. We should expect afflictions & trials:

                Psa.34:19                Many are the afflictions of the righteous

                Acts 14:22             Must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom

                1Thes.3:3,4            No man should be moved by these afflictions: for...we are appointed thereunto

                1Pet.4:12                Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial

                (See also 1Cor.10:13; 1Pet.5:9.)

D. Stand strong, endure hardness:

                Acts 20:23,24        None of these things move me...that I might finish

                2Tim.2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier

                Heb.11:25-27         Choosing rather to suffer affliction...he endured

                Jam.5:10,11            Take the prophets, for an example of suffering affliction ...we count them happy which endure

E. Be happy despite sufferings:

                Jn.16:33b                Ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer

                Rom.5:3  We glory in tribulations...worketh patience

                2Cor.7:4b               I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation

                1Pet.4:13,16  are partakers of Christ's sufferings

F. Don't murmur against God:

                Job 1:20-22            Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Also 2:9,10)

                Psa.17:3  I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress

                1Thes.5:18             In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God

G. Remain faithful:

                Psa.119:143            Trouble & anguish...yet Thy commandments my delights


9. Wrong attitudes towards suffering:

                Exo.6:9    [Despair:] They (Israelites) hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, & for cruel bondage

                Ruth 1:20,21          [Complaint:] for Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me

                Job 2:7-9                [Bitterness:] Then said (Job's wife), Curse God, & die

                Pro.24:10                [Giving up:] If thou faint in the day of adversity

                Jer.15:18 [Questioning:] Wilt Thou be unto me as a liar?

                (See also Pro.18:14; Lam.3:39.)

10. God comforts & strengthens us when we suffer:

                Exo.3:7    I have seen the affliction of My people...heard their cry... I know their sorrows

                Mat.5:4   Blessed are they that mourn...they shall be comforted

                Jn.14:18  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you

                Rom.8:26                The Spirit helpeth our infirmities

                1Pet.5:10                But God...after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you

                (See also Psa.23:4; 37:24; 145:14.)


11. Deliverance from suffering:

A. The Lord promises to deliver us from our suffering:

                Psa.30:5  Weeping may endure a night, joy cometh in the morning

                Psa.34:19                Many are the afflictions...but the Lord delivereth

                Psa.103:9-14          He will not always chide...He knoweth our frame

                Lam.3:31,32            Lord will not cast off for ever: though He cause grief

                Isa.54:7,8                For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but...mercy

                (See also Exo.3:7,9,10; Deut.26:6-8; Psa.66:11,12; 94:12-14; 107:11-14; 118:17,18.)

B. Pray for deliverance:

                Psa.34:6  Lord heard him, & saved him out of all his troubles

                Psa.34:17                The righteous cry, & the Lord...delivereth them out

                Psa.50:15                Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee

                (See specific examples in Ezra 9:5-15; Isa.38:1-3.)

C. God's conditions:

                2Chr.6:27-30          [Release from suffering if men repent & seek the Lord]

                2Chr.7:13,14           If My people...shall humble themselves, & pray, & turn from wicked ways; I will hear...forgive...heal

                Job 33:27-29          If any say, I have sinned...He will deliver his soul

                Job 36:8-11            If they obey & serve Him, they shall (have) prosperity

                Jon.2:1-10              [Jonah praised God in his trouble, & was delivered]


12. Your duty toward the suffering & afflicted:

                Job 6:14  To him that is afflicted pity should be showed

                Job 16:5  I would strengthen you...asswage your grief

                Isa.50:4   Speak a word in season to him that is weary

                Lk.10:30-37            [The good Samaritan] Go, & do thou likewise

                Rom.12:15b            Weep with them that weep

                1Cor.12:25,26         Whether one member suffer, all...suffer with it

                Gal.6:2    Bear ye one another's burdens

                Heb.13:3 Remember them which suffer adversity

                Jam.1:27 Visit the fatherless & widows in their affliction

                (See also Job 19:21; Mat.25:34-45; 1Tim.5:10.)


13. The suffering of the worldly wicked:

--Or even of backslidden, disobedient Christians:

                Deut.28:20             The Lord shall send upon thee cursing...because of the wickedness of thy doings

                Deut.28:15-67        If thou wilt not hearken...these curses shall come...

                Job 15:20a              The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days

                Psa.32:10a              Many sorrows shall be to the wicked

                Isa.42:24,25a          Neither were they obedient unto His law. Therefore He hath poured upon him the fury of His anger

                Isa.57:20,21            Wicked are like troubled peace to the wicked

                Heb.2:15 Who through fear of death were...subject to bondage

                1Jn.4:18  Fear hath torment

                (See also Job 20:all; Eccl.2:22,23; Lam.3:42-47.)


14. Much of the world's suffering is often self-inflicted:

A. Drug abuse, alcoholism etc.:

                1Cor.3:17                If any man defile (his body), him shall God destroy

                Pro.23:29-35           [Alcoholism brings on woe, sorrow, wounds]

                (See also Pro.23:21; 31:4,5; Isa.5:11; 28:7.)

B. Overeating:

                Num.11:19,20,        [Hebrews gluttonously overate quails & as a result, the fattest of them" died--See Psa.78:26-31]


                Phi.3:19a                Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly

                (See also Pro.23:1-3,21a)

C. Overdoing physically gets body's resistance down:

                Eccl.12:12b            Much study is a weariness of the flesh

                Phi.2:27a,30           He was (sick) nigh unto death, not regarding his life

D. Suffering because of sexual sins:

                Rom.1:27                [Sodomites]...receiving in themselves that recompense of their error [disease & infection]

E. Pollution by factories, pesticides, chemicals etc.:

                Isa.24:5   The earth is defiled under the inhabitants thereof

                Jer.2:7     Ye defiled My land, & made (it) an abomination

                Amos 7:17b           Thou shalt die in a polluted land

                Mic.2:10b               Because it is polluted, it shall destroy you

                Zeph.3:1 Woe to her that is filthy & polluted, to the oppressing city

                Rom.1:30,32a         Inventors of evil things...worthy of death

                Rev.11:18b             [God will] destroy them which destroy the earth

                (See also Gen.4:8,16,17; Isa.5:8; 14:21 re: unnatural cities & industrialisation)

F. Greed & oppression cause wars, suffering & misery:

                Josh.7:1-26            [Achan's covetousness caused many Israelites to die]

                Pro.15:27                He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house

                Nah.3:1   Woe to the bloody city! it is full of lies & robbery

                1Tim.6:9,10            They that will be rich...drown in destruction...sorrows

                Jam.4:1,2                From whence come wars?...even of your kill

                Jam.5:1-6                Rich have condemned & killed the just

                (See also Psa.73:3-20; Mic.6:12-15 . )


15. What suffering does for the unsaved or disobedient:

A. Some do not repent despite suffering & affliction:

                Isa.1:5     Why should ye be stricken any more? Ye will revolt

                Isa.42:25 Yet he knew not...yet he laid it not to heart

                Isa.57:17 I smote him...he went on in the way of his heart

                Jer.2:30a In vain have I smitten...they received no correction

                Jer.5:3     Thou hast stricken them, but they...refused to return

                Dan.9:13 All this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer

                (See also Neh.9:26-29; Isa.9:13; Amos 4:6.)

B. Suffering causes the truly wicked to curse God even more:

                2Chr.28:22              In time of his distress did he trespass yet more

                Pro.29:1  He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, & that without remedy

                Isa.8:21   When they shall be hungry, shall curse...their God

                Rev.16:9-11            Men scorched with heat, blasphemed God, repented not

                (See also Lev.26:23,24)

C. It causes some to repent & seek God:

                Deut.31:17             Many evils & troubles shall befall them [to make them realise they've forsaken God]

                2Chr.15:4                When they in their trouble...sought Him, He was found

                Psa.78:34                When He slew them, then they sought Him: & returned

                Isa.26:16 Poured out prayer when Thy chastening was upon them

                Jer.2:27b They have turned the back...but in the time of trouble

D. It even turns some unsaved or disobedient to God:

                2Chr.33:9-13          [Manasseh's suffering in prison turned him to God]

                Job 34:31,32           I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more

                Dan.4:30-37           [King Nebuchadnezzar's abasement & salvation]

                Lk.15:16-20            [Suffering caused the prodigal son to repent]

                Rev.11:13               Earthquake (killed) 7,000...remnant gave glory to God

                (See also Hos.2:6,7)



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