Title: WHERE IS GOD WHEN I NEED HIM THE MOST?
It does not settle right in our minds when bad things happen to good people. The unjust event does not fit with our keen sense of justice, so we try to fix the blame. Some point the blame at God. This is not new. The oldest book in the Bible (Book of Job) records their misunderstandings about God. After all that had happened to Job, his wife said, “Are you still trying to be godly when God has done all this to you?” Fortunately the Bible records the reason for Job’s sorrows in the first chapter (1:6-12). The real reason for Job’s suffering was that Satan instigated the trouble, but God allowed it. Frustrated people are not always the best source for determining who is to blame. Those who believe in God must try to explain the existence of suffering.
We need to ask some preliminary questions:
1. What does the Bible say about God’s basic nature towards mankind? (God is good; God is love; God is gracious; God demonstrates his concern for man, shown in the sacrifice of His Son on our behalf.)
2. Does God cause everything that happens in the world? Do things happen the way He wants them to happen?
3. Do bad things happen to people because of personal sin? (If that were the case, what did Jesus do so wrong that He had to experience all the trials and suffering that He did?…and He was sinless!) Heb. 12:5-6
One of Satan’s greatest tactics to keep us from moving forward is fear…to lay down our shield of faith. Maybe you have experienced so much fear that you were frozen in indecision, with incorrect thoughts floating through your head about God. Too much fear debilitates…people literally give up and die. Learning to walk by faith and not by fear can make all the difference in how we come through these times. Remember the Hebrew children at the edge of the Red Sea and pinned in by Pharaoh’s army behind them? During their greatest fear, God spoke: “I will part the waters and show you the way out of your impossible situation.” (Paraphrase) The key is keeping our eyes on the Lord, not the situation. It’s human to be weak when things come crashing down. But it’s faith that believes that those are times when God will do His greatest work.
1. Explain God’s role in suffering according to Rom. 8:16-28. (Nothing can happen to the one that loves God that God is not able to turn into a blessing a little further down the road.)
2. Is there anything that can separate us from God? Has God used up all His power? Rom. 8:35-39
3. What does 1 Pet. 1:6-13 say about where God is when bad things happen?
4. How can James say what he does in Ja. 1:2? (Read the rest of his thoughts: 1:2-4, 12-13)
5. How is our pride a hindrance in letting go of our hurts? How does this stand in the way of relationships?
6. How does an unforgiving spirit towards those that hurt us keep us from healing?
7. What can you say to encourage people whose faith weakens when God is about to do His greatest work? (Israel @ the Red Sea) (Miracles of rescue from an impossible situation often give Him the greatest glory.)
8. What’s going on in the mind of someone who thinks their bondage to a bitter spirit is better than moving on?
9. What does it take for you to place your first step into the Jordan River, or the first step out of the boat, like Peter?
10. How does fear and bitterness cloud your thinking when you are in a trial? What is needed during times like these? (Godly counsel to bounce your thoughts off of, so that you don’t make a foolish decision.)
11. Do you think God advances when our belief in Him is willing to act like it? Josh. 3:14-17
Insight: Stand in the middle of your Jordan River situation and let your faith release power from Heaven. God will part the waters and show you the way out as you have the faith to step forward. The key is keeping your eyes on the Lord! Dan. 11:32
12. Comment on this statement: Pain is inevitable…misery is optional.
Find the hope of God in these scriptures: Phil. 4:6-7; Ps. 55:22; Isa. 41:10; Isa. 43:1-5, 11
God goes beyond our suffering and is waiting for us to reach out in the spirit to hold our hand and see us through it. Job 19:26-27 Praise God we don’t have to face pain without God. Even while Job was still mourning his losses and his body was covered in sores, he said this: Job 42:1-4
What seems to be the event that turned Job’s circumstances around, according to Job 42:10? (When Job got his eyes off of himself and could look to the needs of others and pray for them, God brought the trial to an end. Sometimes the only way our friends will consider our testimony is when they know beyond any doubt it is genuine!) If the Book of Job teaches us anything, it’s that God is bigger than our problems. It teaches that God has a plan that will result in something good at the other end.
We may not know the reason of our own suffering until we get to Heaven. But for this short walk on earth, we can choose to walk in the joy of the Lord instead of misery.