March 17, 2022 3:00 am
When you take your young child to the doctor to get a shot, you know it’s going to cause them some pain. From the child’s perspective, they may ask “why?” “Why does it have to hurt?” From a parent’s perspective, you know the pain is momentary, but the benefit is long-lasting. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see our pain through the eyes of God, our Heavenly Father. It may not end the pain, but it may give us good perspective for our journey.
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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.
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Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Learn more at harvest.org.
And while you're there, browse our library of free eBooks designed to help you grow in your faith. There's more than life on this earth, there is life beyond. So that's the key. When you take your young child to the doctor to get a shot, you know it's going to cause them some pain. From the child's perspective, they may ask why. Why does it have to hurt? From a parent's perspective, you know the pain is momentary, but the benefit is long-lasting. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us see our pain through the eyes of God, our Heavenly Father.
It may not end the pain, but it may give us good perspective for our journey. You know we all have questions, lots and lots of questions, and nowadays you know you have all of this electronic gear to help you. You know there was a time not all that long ago when if you needed an answer you had to talk to a living human being, or you had to look it up in a thing called a book that had pages in it and all that. There used to be people selling the Encyclopedia Britannica and you would invest in this big set of books to have in your library.
Well those days are pretty much gone and now all we have to do is just go to a Google search engine and ask a question or ask Siri or go to Yahoo Answers and see what they have to say. And the problem is you have to understand any random person can give you any random answer. Listen, just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's true.
Do we all understand that? Because people come and say, but I read it on the internet. There's crazy people on the internet.
So just know that of course. But I actually read these are real questions people typed into the search engine of Yahoo. Real questions.
One person types in this question, will my laptop get heavier if I put more files on it? Wow. Okay how about this one? A real question, do you think humans will ever walk on the sun? Walk on the sun. I love the answer one person said.
Best answer would be yes, but it would have to be at night. Here's another one. I can't believe someone sent this in. Is it illegal to kill an ant?
Really? Someone's actually asking that question? Is it, that reminds me of the old joke of what the Pink Panther said when he stepped on an ant. You know the answer. Remember the Pink Panther? Stepped on an ant.
They went dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant. Yeah okay so. And how about this one? I like this one actually. Is there a spell to become a mermaid that actually works? So they've tried other spells and they didn't work. And here's one more.
Can I lose weight without moving? And that was from me and I never got an acceptable answer. But then there are serious questions that people ask. And of course there are questions like why is there suffering in the world? Another question is what happens after we die and is reincarnation true?
Or do we come back in a higher or a lower life form depending on our karma? For me the big question is why do I always just lose one sock? You know I always lose one. I would rather just lose a pair of socks. So they'll be given to someone somewhere but I lose one sock. And I don't know why but I always hang on to that sock. That one time. One day I'll find it. The other day I was walking along I saw a sock in the gutter.
I thought there's one of them you know. But you know these are questions we ask. But the big questions are about suffering and about why things happen the way they do. And by the way that's not a new question to the 21st century or even the 20th century or even the 19th century. In fact it was a question they were effectively asking in the first century during the time of Christ himself.
And we find answers in the text before us. This is the story of a blind man who was healed by Jesus one day. He also became a believer in addition to having his blindness healed.
We've all heard people say seeing is believing. In his case believing was seeing. Because he saw things he had never seen before.
He not just faces of friends and family. Not just the beauty of God's creation but he saw spiritually as well. And he discovered what the real purpose of life was. Because he saw Jesus. In fact that was the first person he saw when he was healed.
The Lord himself. And that is why he saw everything else in its proper perspective. And so now we're looking at what this all means to us. And what the passage actually says. So let's go now to John chapter 9 and we'll read a few verses together. Now as Jesus passed by he saw a man who was blind from birth. And his disciples asked him rabbi who sinned this man or his parents and he was born blind. Jesus answered neither this man nor his parents sinned but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of him who sent me while it is day.
The night is coming when no man can work. And as long as I am in the world I am the light of the world. When he said these things he spit on the ground and made clay with the saliva and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay and he said go washed in the pool of Siloam which is translated sent. So the man went and washed and came back seeing.
We'll stop there. So here's this question. Who sinned this man or his parents? Now of course we wonder well how could this man have sinned if he was blind from birth? And the reason this question was asked is because some Jews of the day believed in their own version of reincarnation. It's been made more popular today through Hinduism but even they had a view like this. Not a biblical view of course but some actually thought that you would have been alive in another time as another person or another life form. Basically reincarnation teaches that the soul moves from the body to another body. The status of each successive body whether human or animal is a direct result of the quality of life the soul led in the previous body. Thus a good life results in a rebirth to a higher life form. A bad life results in a rebirth to a lower quality life form. This forward and backward progression is based on the law of karma and it's a central foundation of Hinduism and other eastern based philosophies.
Basically karma teaches that good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds are punished. Now who would believe stuff like this? Well more people than you might think. I read that 25 percent of Americans believe in reincarnation. I've heard people say of their newborn baby oh he's an old soul you know. Like he was in another body he was an older man at a previous time but now that soul is in the body of the little baby and the idea is that the souls pre-exist and so forth.
Well this isn't biblical. You become a soul at conception. You didn't pre-exist in another life and you won't continue to exist in another life form. Now as Christians we believe you live forever but you don't keep coming back to the earth you know one time as a dog another time God forbid as a cat and then maybe as a man or a woman or whatever.
No it doesn't work that way. The Bible teaches that that at conception not at birth at conception we become a living soul made in the very image of God. Psalm 139 says of the psalmist says, you created my innermost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I'm fearfully and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful. All the days for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. So this is a very important thing of course that we're reading in scripture that is telling us that God knew us in the mother's womb. God knew all about us and had a plan for our life and that is why abortion is murdering an unborn child and this is why it's such a horrible travesty in our culture today. But we have one life to live on this earth. Not multiple lives on hundreds of lives not thousands of lives. And it's in this life that we call life but really maybe we should call the before life. We talk about the afterlife. The before life is much shorter than the afterlife isn't it? It's in the before life we determine where we will spend the afterlife. There are no other chances beyond the grave.
You won't come back as a higher or lower life form to sort things out and all happens here and now because the Bible says it's appointed unto a man wants to die and then comes the judgment. In a moment Pastor Greg addresses another question the disciples were asked. It's a question that forms the title of today's study.
Why does God allow suffering? Hey everybody Greg Laurie here. You know my uncle Fred Jordan had one of the first Christian TV programs out there. It was called Church in the Home.
I remember watching it as a little boy when I was living with my grandparents. Well we have Church in the Home for you every weekend. It's called Harvest at Home and you can find it at Harvest.org. We have worship and a message from God's word.
So join us this weekend for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well Pastor Greg has just highlighted the question that Jesus was asked. Who sinned this man or his parents that he would be born blind?
Well Pastor Greg continues now with his message from the series called Life. But this question of the disciples brings us to another often asked question. Why does God allow suffering?
This is effectively what they're asking. They say Lord, verse two, who sinned this man or his parents to be in the state he's in? In other words, why was this man born blind? And we could take that further and ask the question why are babies born with a disability? Why is there war? Why is there terrorism? Why is there tragedy? Why, why, why?
It goes on and on. You know sometimes you'll see people who are atheists. I don't know that some of them are. They say they are but often they're not. But there are true atheists out there. At least they claim to be.
And they'll say they've come to this conclusion after a careful study and so forth. And there may be a few examples of that but I felt by and large people end up as atheists because something traumatic happened in them earlier in life. And thus they had to find a belief system or a lack thereof that would help them to deal with the pain that they had to face. An example is Ted Turner. He founded CNN. And he as a young boy Ted wanted to be a missionary. But his sister came down with lupus and Ted prayed fervently that she would be healed and she died. So from that day on Ted Turner was mad at God.
And he's gone out of his way to mock Christians and mock the Christian faith and mock the Bible and so forth calling Christianity a religion for losers. He became an atheist because he experienced a personal tragedy and it made no sense to him. Because his problem was he could not reconcile a loving God and human suffering. And some of you maybe struggle with these things because you were dealt a bad hand in life so to speak.
You were raised in a home that fell apart or an abusive home or an alcoholic home or someone very close to you died when you were young or some tragedy has befallen you even recently. And it makes no sense to you and you're sort of angry at God. I hear people say I'm mad at God. Really in the classic statement of this problem either God is all powerful but he's not all good therefore he doesn't stop evil. Or he's all good but he's not all powerful therefore he can't stop evil. And the general tendency is to blame God for all of the evil and all the suffering in the world. Effectively to pass all the responsibility on to him. And so this is not a rational thing that is happening when people do this but there's nothing rational about it.
People are just upset and so they're passing these things on. And so here now Jesus is going to sort of set the record straight. And let's deal with this question. Can physical suffering on earth be a result of sin?
The answer is yes and no. Let me say in a broad sense all suffering is a result of sin. And I don't mean personal.
Like if someone's born with a disability I'm not suggesting they did something bad to deserve that. Not at all. All suffering. Aging even.
A death. It's all a result of sin. You see it was never God's plan for us to get sick. It was never God's plan for us to get old. It was never God's plan for me to be bald.
All right. But because of the curse of sin it affects me. It affects you.
It affects all of us because of the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden. Now you might say well if I had been in the garden I would have never eaten of the forbidden fruit. Shut up. Of course you would have. An easy way to respond to that is have you ever sinned?
Well if you're honest you'll say yes. Well you would have responded to temptation just like they did. But if they had not sinned the curse would not have come. But because they did sin the curse did come.
In Romans 5 12 says as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin death spread to all men because all men and women of course have sinned. Well we immediately think well why did God make it that way? Why didn't God create us so we would not sin? So what you're really saying is why didn't God make us into robots right?
I have a grandson Christopher. He just turned four and he told me Papa I want a robot with an arm. I had no idea what he was talking about. And so he had seen some commercial. His mom or dad had no clue as to what this robot with an arm was. So I went out and typed into a search engine robot with arm. A couple of videos popped up. I think I found it. So I you know copied it.
Sent the link over to them. He said hey we think that's it. So I bought him the robot with an arm. So you run it off your iPhone. It just has little wheels and the thing reaches out. Grab something.
Picks it up. But that's the whole thing. But it's kind of cool because last night he put his voice in it. It records your voice. It's like I'm doing a commercial for this stupid thing okay. So here is this little toy. Well it's cute but you know all of a sudden the Bluetooth disconnects and just stops and it's limited. What do you want to be? A robot with an arm?
With a pre-recorded voice? Or do you want to have a free will? You know and one of the good things about getting back from a trip hopefully is people missed you. I'm not feeling that from you but I others have.
No I am kind of. You know we missed you. We love you.
That's the best kind of affection that comes from the heart. Not something that's robotic or something that's pre-programmed. Okay so here's God. He doesn't want a bunch of robots. He wants us to love him because we choose to love him. But with that choice to say yes also came the ability to make the choice to say no. So free will is our greatest blessing and in some ways our worst curse. And so really we come down to this question about suffering.
Why it happens. And we always want to find cause and effect. I remember when 9-11 happened and some said this was the judgment of God on America. And I thought really why the World Trade Center in particular? Are there more wicked places in America than the World Trade Center?
Are there more wicked places on earth than New York City? You know we begin to take that and think it through rationally and it begins to not make sense. And I think it's always a big mistake to find cause and effect for tragedy. Oh that happened because they were wicked.
Really? Well Jesus actually told a story in the book of Luke chapter 13 about a tower that fell in a group of Gentiles. A well-known news event. A tower fell and killed some people. And so Jesus asked the rhetorical question were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? And then he said no I tell you again unless you repent you will also perish. So basically Christ is addressing this idea of bad things happening that make no sense.
And here's what he's saying in effect. Bad things happen. People die. There are not always explanations. Sometimes we see evil people do evil things and pay the consequences.
Right? And sometimes we see godly people killed. A bus full of people going to a church retreat are killed by a drunk driver that pulls out of his lane and hits them and he survives. We say where's the justice and that and we don't understand that. Bad things happen that are inexplicable this side of heaven. Here was Christ's point. Hey you think they were the worst sinners?
Actually they weren't. And unless you repent you will perish. In other words guess what guys. No one gets out of here alive. Everyone's gonna die. You're saying Greg this is like the most depressing message I've ever heard. Go back to the robot story.
Let me finish. It'll get better but I want to lay this foundation because we need to understand this. Bad things happen Christians get cancer. Christians are killed in automobile accidents. A godly people face tragedy. It is not always something we can explain but the most important thing for us is we have hope as followers of Jesus Christ because there's more than life on this earth. There is life beyond. Pastor Greg Laurie with good perspective on the sufferings of this life.
We know it's only temporary. He'll have more insights as this study continues here on A New Beginning and in a moment Pastor Greg closes today's program in a special way. It'll encourage you so stay with us.
And then can we just say thank you. Thank you to those who not only listen on a regular basis but also pray for us and not only listen and pray but also invest. They recognize the power of the gospel to change lives and they invest so these studies can continue. And Pastor Greg you know that support makes a big difference in the lives of the people who listen to us. Yes I do and I would encourage some of you to be generous because when you are generous with your finances we will put that money to work in expanding this ministry to reach more people with the teaching of the word of God in the message of the gospel. Yeah so we hope you'll contact us today and let us know you want to partner with us.
We have a special way to say thank you. It's a book called Don't Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table written by Pastor Louie Giglio. He points out we're in the battle for our minds and our enemy is trying to push a narrative that will lead to defeat. The subtitle is It's Time to Win the Battle of Your Mind and we'll send you this book to thank you for your investment.
Go to harvest.org and you can make that investment while you're there or write us at A New Beginning Box 4000 Riverside California 92514 or call anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Well next time more reassurance as Pastor Greg takes a biblical look at the subject of pain and suffering. But before we go, Pastor Greg was the guest on a radio program called Pastor's Perspective some time back and a woman named Camille called in for prayer. Now given today's study of suffering we wanted to share the encouragement Pastor Greg offered.
Hi pastors thank you for taking my call. I'm on my way to see my mother. She's standing at the gate and it's been a long haul with leukemia and they are listening right now.
The whole family is listening so I love you mom. Encouragement give us a scripture for she's not scared to go into eternity and to die. She knows where she's going however it's the physical portion right now and the words to describe are distress and terrifying because of the effects of leukemia.
I don't know if there's any scriptures about suffering in your physical body and relief from that or comfort. Camille did you see your mom is listening right now? Yes she is. What is her name Camille?
Her name is Vicki. Okay Vicki let me address my remarks just to you directly because you're at the very gate of eternity. Here are the words of Jesus to you. Let not your heart be troubled you believe in God believe also in me and my father's house are many mansions if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there you may be also and where I go you know and the way you know. Thomas said to him Lord how do we know where you're going and how can we know the way Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life and no one comes to the father except through me. So Vicki I would just say to you don't be afraid when Jesus says let not your heart be troubled it's a word that means don't be stressed or agitated don't be afraid because to be absent from your body is to be present with the Lord. You will go immediately into God's presence to glory and Paul speaking of it said he wanted to go and be with Christ which was far far better. What is ahead of you is so much better than what you're experiencing now and you've gone through a lot of suffering and difficulty with leukemia and your time of pain is coming to an end and your time of glory is soon beginning and so we say to you God bless you and we'll see you soon and because you put your faith in Christ he'll welcome you into heaven and say well done good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your Lord. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-21 10:52:16 / 2023-05-21 11:01:36 / 9