INTRODUCTION: It has been said that the minister who preaches to suffering people will never lack a congregation - for each person is either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or about to enter a storm. This is a true as the sun.
We suffer because of the fall - We have seen, thus far, in our chronological journey through scripture that God created the Heavens and the Earth in splendid perfection, a virtual paradise. However, we have also seen that a rebellion born in Heaven spread like a virus to Earth. Satan through deception struck an alliance with our ancestors thus corrupted the human race. The curse fell upon mankind, upon the demonic race, upon the very earth itself - which the New Testament tells us “groans as in childbirth up until the present time”. If the pangs of childbirth began with the curse, and continued into Paul’s day - how much greater might we expect them to be in our own two millennia years removed?
We suffer because of our faith- There is no guarantee more certain than this - you will suffer. Not only under the weight of sin’s curse - your sufferings in this life will be amplified by your following of Christ. 2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV) 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
We suffer because of our sin - If this were not enough - you will personally bring some suffering upon yourself by your own poor choices. We lack perfect wisdom and we lack perfect faith so it is inevitable that we will at times engage in activities that will cause us to suffer. At other times we will fail to engage in activities that will relieve our suffering.
In 1 Corinthians we see that some are sick and others have died because of sin in their lives. But we must not assume that all suffering is because of sin - this was the mistake of Job’s friends.
We suffer because of God’s Providence - Beyond all of this - we serve a God who employees suffering as his choice tool of sanctification. By his very hand of Providence storm clouds will at times be moved over our homes. Like the very rain that fall from the sky these clouds will move over the just and the unjust.
Job’s friends will fail to recognize God’s Providence as it relates to suffering. The disciples made the same mistake when they found a boy blind from birth. “Who sinned this man or his parents”, they asked. “Neither” answered Jesus, “but he was afflicted so that the power of God may be demonstrated”.
Since suffering is so predictable (inevitable) - we would do well to prepare for it. God in His great wisdom knew that the suffering of man would cause him to raise many questions. So he gave us Job.