Jesus and Suffering

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There is tension in the Bible when it comes to the issue of suffering. On the one hand God calls us to obey to limit our suffering and give us success. On the other hand, we see that Jesus and His immediate disciples suffered terribly. Plus, we see suffering among those we know who are good people. Our lessons this quarter bring us face to face with this tension. Let's begin this journey of contemplation and learning by studying Psalms 23!...

Some people are more frequently surprised than others. Cautious people consider the future and only get surprised occasionally. Careless people are constantly being surprised because they do not think ahead. Everyone gets surprised at some point. Our study this week is about being surprised by calamities. Is there a way to prepare for being surprised? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn more!...

I read a story about how a covered birdcage helps a bird to concentrate on learning a specific song. You know the expression, "bird brain?" It is not a compliment! Are people like birds? Do they need to be focused to learn vital lessons? Is suffering a way to focus our attention? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!...

Navel gazing is natural. It is normal to consider how some change will affect you. Indeed, you probably spend most of your time thinking about changes and how they affect you. I fear that we let this seep into our theology - that we begin to think of problems as a way to improve us. Our goal is to be refined gold they say, so let difficulties pour over us. Consider this, if God wanted us to be refined by problems, why did He give us His Commandments and His advice in the Bible? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn more about the validity of the idea of refining!...

In the recent lessons I challenged the idea that God brings suffering to us to improve our character. We may come to a Bible story that proves me wrong, but we have not found one so far. What we have seen is that Satan brings suffering to try to separate us from God. Is Satan's goal simply to have us believe God is a myth? Does he want us to distrust God? Could his goal be to have us adopt the wrong view of God? A view that God does evil things, rather than loving things? Let's study more Bible stories about suffering to sharpen our view of God!...

Do you view living the Christian life as a struggle? Your struggle? My experience reveals what I see as two errors. On the one side are those who live in a free market economy and have learned that working harder and smarter is the key to success. They import that thinking into their relationship with God. They believe that hard, smart work brings them closer to God. The error on the other side is that righteousness by faith alone is understood to mean that we simply drift through our Christian life. A carelessness about service and behavior is fine because we have nothing to do with our salvation. Where does the line of truth lie? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn on this subject!...

Do you have difficulty understanding God? We have learned in past lessons in this series that a primary reason we suffer is that Satan sends problems our way in the hope that we will reject God. Satan wants to cause separation from God. If you don't understand someone, does that cause you to trust them less? The answer is likely "yes" for most people. If that is true, does God want us to understand Him? God compares Himself to a loving father. If you had a loving father, does that help you to better understand God? Let's dive into our study of the Bible to learn more!...