Matt Carder - November 1, 2015

The Problem of Suffering


Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is all powerful and all good, why do people still suffer? The problem of suffering, for believers and non-believers alike, is something we all wrestle with. In this message, we explore these foundational questions, how they turn people away from God, and ultimately, how the problem of suffering is best answered by turning to the cross.

From Series: "Unapologetic"

We live in a world where faith and Christianity are becoming less relevant and "believable" by the hour. With advanced science and certainty, who needs faith anymore, anyways? As followers of Jesus, we need to know why we believe what we believe to have any influence in our culture. It's easy to be a believer in Christian circles, but when you're in the minority and the hard, piercing questions come regarding your faith, do you know how to answer them in a way that they can be heard and not immediately dismissed? And perhaps more importantly, do you know how to listen and ask questions in a way that equally considers another's context?

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  • What organizations, causes, or groups have you supported (financial, service, prayers, etc.) in order to make a difference in the world?


  • What injustice, suffering, or brokenness in the world most deeply stirs your sense of frustration or anger at the way things are? How has that impacted your sense of God’s activity or care for the world?
  • If suffering produces perseverance, along with character and hope (Romans 5:3-5), how might that practically change the way you view and live through personal moments of suffering?
  • Jesus referred to the “renewal of all things” in Matthew19:28. What do you think that looks like? How can this promise be a sense of hope or encouragement for you?


  • Matt said that this message wouldn’t resolve all of the tension or answer all of the questions when it comes to suffering. Where do you still feel unsatisfied in understanding they “why” behind the suffering in your own life or the suffering in the world?
  • Even if you don’t feel (at the moment) an intense concern with the level of suffering in the world, others may certainly feel that. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says that we are to comfort others in the same way we have been comforted by God. Be aware and look for the people in your life, taking the opportunity to comfort and encourage as they suffer or wrestle with doubt.


“If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and i fGod were almighty He would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both. This is the problem of pain in its simplest form.” – C.S. Lewis

“Sometimes murmuring, sometimes shouting, suffering is a ‘rumor of transcendence’ that the entire human condition is out of whack.” – Philip Yancey

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of ‘just’ and ‘unjust’? What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?” – C.S. Lewis

“If God thinks this state of war in the universe a price worth paying for free will…then we may take it is worth paying.” – C.S. Lewis

“On the cross he went beyond even the worst human suffering and experienced cosmic rejection and pain that exceeds ours as infinitely as his knowledge and power exceeds our own.” – Tim Keller

“Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” – Philip Yancey

“They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.” – C.S. Lewis

“With great restraint, God watches this rebellious planet live on, in mercy allowing the human project to continue in its self-guided way. He lets us cry out, like Job, in loud fits of anger against him, blaming him for a world we spoiled. He allies himself with the poor and suffering, founding a kingdom tilted in their favor. He stoops to conquer. He promises supernatural help to nourish the spirit, even if our physical suffering goes unrelieved. He has joined us. He has hurt and bled and cried and suffered. He has dignified for all time those who suffer, by sharing their pain. He is waiting, gathering the armies of good. One day he will unleash them, and the world will see one last terrifying moment of suffering before the full victory is ushered in. Then, God will create for us a new, incredible world. And pain shall be no more.” – Philip Yancey



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