I. The question is deeper than does God exist. It’s the question behind the question.
A. If God exists and doesn’t care… Who cares? If God is indifferent, what difference does it make?
- Truthfully, whether God exists is really irrelevant. The true question, the deeper question, what really matters is Does he care? Why does he seem so heartless?
- We have all asked the question. How can God allow this to happen? It’s a fair question. On a personal level if you ever have a crisis and call out to God and he seems to be absent sometimes when we don’t know who God is we project motives on him that really come from the human heart and God isn’t human.
- Is it possible that suffering is our fault and God does exist? And he is broken hearted for our choices?
II. The Late God
John 11:1-37 - A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. 2 This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. 3 So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” 5 So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, 6 he stayed where he was for the next two days. 7 Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”8 But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?” 9 Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. 10 But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” 11 Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.” 12 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” 13 They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died. 14 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15 And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.” 16 Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”
There is no suffering unless there’s loss and there is no loss unless there’s love.
Why do we suffer? 4 Streams of thought.
- We make bad choices
- We suffer because other people make bad choices that affect our lives!
- We suffer because bad things that happen that we can’t avoid.
- It’s not suffering that destroys us. It’s the lack of meaning in our suffering.
- Bad things happen when people make Good choices
20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 “Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”
25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. 26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
Suffering is not the enemy of love it is the result of love.
27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” 28 Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” 29 So Mary immediately went to him. 30 Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. 31 When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. 32 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. 34 “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Then Jesus wept. 36 The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” 37 But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”
III. God is Love
A. We want to believe God is wrathful and full of vengeance so we can have someone to blame.
1 John 4:10 - This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
B. It is sin that caused us to be where we are today.
Romans 8:19-23 - 19For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.
C. God is making all things new
Isaiah 53:3-6 - 3He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with eepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. 4Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
The question behind the question: Does God care or is he a heartless God? God introduced beauty and we introduced tragedy. But God never gave us up. Don’t give up on God. Will you suffer? Yes, until He makes all things new we are going to suffer. We are in the middle of the story. We suffer because we love. But God who loves you can give meaning to your suffering right now. Jesus came to show you a way through.