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When Suffering Leaves Its Mark, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
October 6, 2022 7:05 am

When Suffering Leaves Its Mark, Part 3

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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October 6, 2022 7:05 am

Clinging to Hope

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From the beginning of time until now, people have struggled to understand the mysteries of suffering. It's been the catalyst for countless questions down through the ages, such as why would a loving God allow His children to suffer? And this one, does God punish us for our sinful choices by inflicting us with illness? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll will address these questions as part of his teaching series called Clinging to Hope.

He's written a new book by this same title and later in the program will explain how to receive a copy. Let me give you the first of the five foundational facts that I want you to remember. Number one, there are two classifications of sin, original sin and personal sins, plural. Original sin and personal sins. Original sin represents the condition in which we are born.

We are sinners at birth. And that is what prompts acts of sin or personal sins. Now the second statement, original sin introduced suffering, sickness and death to the human race. Third statement, sometimes there is a direct relationship between personal sins and sickness. Sometimes there is a direct personal relationship between personal sins and sickness. A person becomes sick because of sin in their lives on occasion that's true.

Sometimes there is no relationship between the two. Sometimes there is no relationship between personal sins and an individual's being sick or disabled. Another turn ahead to John chapter 9. Here is a story in the ministry and life of Jesus regarding a man with congenital blindness. He was born without sight. He's a man born blind.

What a disability. Jesus comes upon him as he's walking along. He sees the man who has been blind from birth.

Please observe the dialogue that follows. Rabbi, his disciples asked him, why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents' sins? Look at the answer from Jesus. It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins.

It was neither. Jesus answered, this happened so the power of God could be seen in him. It is not God's will that everyone should be healed. Now the reason those who teach that it is, they teach that is usually found in Isaiah 53 verse 5 by his scourging, we are healed. They take that portion of the verse and they smear it over all of life and they then offer you healing if you'll simply come to me and I will make it happen for you.

Please, always integrate every verse or part of a verse with its context. It is all in a context of the spiritual life, not physical ailments. Otherwise, all who believe in Jesus would be physically healed. But in fact, all who believe in Jesus are spiritually healed.

All who trust in the Lord Jesus and claim him as Savior of their lives are cleansed. I go back and I say again, it is not God's will that everyone should be physically healed. If it were, we would all be healed.

But it is not. Listen, if you will, without turning, I'll save you the effort of turning to several examples of prolonged infirmities that were not healed found in the scriptures. A man named Epaphroditus was sick to the point of death, Philippians 2 25 through 27. The verses tell us of the man named Epaphroditus, he was not healed.

He was sick almost to the point of death and recovered. There's another man named Trophimus, T-R-O-P-H-I-M-U-S, unusual name. Trophimus is named in 2 Timothy 4 verse 20. Paul writes in his last letter to Timothy, I left Trophimus sick at Miletus.

I left him sick. The apostle who had miraculous gifts walked away from Trophimus leaving him sick. God did not heal him. Timothy was not healed of his stomach ailments. 1 Timothy 5 23, the New Living Bible says you are sick so often. Drink a little wine for your stomach's sake. In those days wine was used in a medicinal way to cleanse that which was infirmed. Take a sip of wine every now and then for the sake of your stomach because you were so sick, Timothy.

We never read of Timothy's being healed as valuable as Timothy was as an apostolic delegate to the work of the ministry. The classic example, 2 Corinthians 12, 7 through 10, the apostle Paul with the thorn in the flesh. Three times I prayed that it would be removed.

The word thorn means steak, something very pointed and painful, sharp that would bring physical illness. All kinds of guesswork has gone into what it was. We don't know what it was. But whatever it was, God's answer came back all three times, no, no, no. Paul stopped the praying and he died with the thorn in the flesh. Never healed. Because it was not God's will to heal Paul of the thorn. Whatever it was.

Get it? It is not always God's will that we be healed of sickness. I battled a congestion problem for the last five weeks. I want to say five years. It seems like it. It's been going on and on and on and on and on and on. And I prayed and I've asked the Lord for relief. Take it, take it. He's left it, he's left it, he's left it, he's left it. There's been no healing yet. I'm still blowing, still snorting, still coughing.

The congestion is there. I don't know why. You know, when you're sick, you bring up every possible sin you can think of and you run out of them and you still don't get well. I don't know why. Stop. Neither do you. Neither does anyone. The mystery rests with God.

Leave it with him. Do not tell sick people they will get well. Do not tell people in wheelchairs they need to be out of the wheelchair. I'll begin my message next week with a story you'll find hard to believe regarding Joni Eareckson-Tada and the things she has heard from the wheelchair. From well-meaning people who are just convinced there are sins in her life.

That if she dealt with them sufficiently, she'd be out of the chair. Please. How insulting. How indelicate. It's almost as if I were to walk back in that plane and say something like that to that dear man lying there between life and death. The Lord leaves us in needy situations for various reasons. One of my mentors, Bruce Waltke, reminded us in one of our wonderful Hebrew classes that he has lived long enough to say, more often than not, you never know why.

You never know why God didn't bring relief. Your wife died and his wife lived. That couple was killed in the plane crash and this couple survived. This neighbor lost a son. That neighbor raised all four kids to be adults. That's a good neighbor. So is this one.

Why? Job wrote his entire book with that question written all over those 42 chapters. It's a mystery. Your respect for God will grow when you remember that much of what he does is mysterious. Oh, the death of the rich is both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments, how unfathomable his ways. Romans 11, 33. Unsearchable, unfathomable, mysterious. I close with words from 2 Corinthians chapter 1.

Look with me. 2 Corinthians 1. I want to show you these simple reasons that Paul points out if you must have some reasons we go through times of illness and I've reviewed these over and over again during days of my own sickness or the sickness of loved ones whom I care about very much. 2 Corinthians is the most autobiographical of all Paul's works. You learn more about Paul personally in 2 Corinthians and 2 Timothy than any other book, any other letter. So we read of something he went through and he learned in the difficulty of it three lessons.

So if you wish to put this in the margin of your page, do that as well. Look at verse 3. 2 Corinthians 1. All praise to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father, the source of all comfort.

Here's the first reason. He comforts us in all our troubles, all our sicknesses, strokes, broken bones, cancers, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, all of our sicknesses. He comforts us in all of that, look, so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we're able to give them the same comfort God gave us. First reason, you have a heart that reaches out to those who are going through a similar situation and God uses what you went through to comfort those who are going through it now. Who better to comfort the one who loses a child than someone who's lost a child? Who better to understand a debilitating sickness than the one who has gone through a debilitating sickness?

Who better understands a special needs child than one who has a special needs child to minister to one who has a special needs child? The comfort is transferable and if you didn't go through it, you wouldn't have it to give. There's something remarkable about people who go through pain. My son used to have a little sign on the wall of his office that said, I've learned never to trust the words of anyone who has not gone through serious pain in his or her life. Pretty wise words. Pain teaches us deep, deep things. Now, go to verse 8. We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. He reveals something here he never mentions anywhere else in all of his letters.

Look at it. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure. This is Paul the Apostle. We thought we would never live through it. Your Bible reads, we had the sentence of death in ourselves.

In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God. Reason number two, going through times like this teaches us not to rely on ourselves. You learn how needy you are when you get really sick. You learn what it means to lean hard on the Lord when the bottom drops out of your life.

Sickness develops that within us when our hearts are ready to receive it. Job finally learned, he knows the way that I take. When he has tried me, I will come forth as gold. My foot has held his steps. His way have I kept and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the command of his lips. I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

I would rather have truths from God than a feast at the table. I've learned to rely on him by going through it with him. So we learn to comfort others. We learn not to rely on ourselves. In verse 11, you're helping us by praying for us.

Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. We learn to give thanks in everything. That's the third lesson, and it's a good one. We learn that bitterness is not the answer.

We learn that complaining does not help. We learn rather, thank you Lord, for in not relieving me of this, you have some reason that is beyond my imagination to figure out that means you care for me like I never realized before. Thank you for being to me what no one else can be. Thank you that sadness may come through the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Thank you for your relief. Thank you for sustaining me. Philip Yancey in his magnificent 1977 book, Where Is God When It Hurts, writes these closing words in that book. Where is God when it hurts? He has been there from the beginning, designing a pain system that still in the midst of a fallen rebellious world equips us for life on this planet. He has used pain, even in its grossest forms, to teach us, asking us to let it turn us to him. He has stooped to conquer. He has let us cry out an echo Job with louder and harsher fits of anger against him, blaming him for a world we spoiled.

He has allied himself with the poor in suffering, establishing a kingdom in their favor, which the rich and powerful often shun. He has promised supernatural strength to nourish our spirit. Even if our physical suffering goes unrelieved, please listen to these words. He is with us now ministering to us through his spirit and through members of his body who are commissioned to bear us up and relieve our suffering. He is waiting, gathering the armies of good.

One day he will unleash them. The world will see one last explosion of pain before the full victory is ushered in. Then he will create for us a new incredible world, and pain shall be no more. Dear Father, we bow before you, our great God, our God of mystery and our God of grace, our God of magnificence and our God of power.

And again we lay ourselves before you, quick to admit we know only so little of why things happen and why things end as they do. But all of this only deepens our confidence in you and your will. Quiet our hearts before you, silence our complaining, and turn our thoughts to your word for direction and hope and reassurance. In the blessed name of Jesus, I pray, all God's people said, Amen. Amen.

Amen. I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief coming from our audience around the world as Chuck Swindoll reminds us that our sovereign God is in control. You're listening to Insight for Living. Chuck titled today's message, When Suffering Leaves Its Mark. It's the second of 12 studies in our brand new teaching series called, Clinging to Hope.

To learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us online at insightworld.org. Well, Chuck has written a brand new book by the same title and it's available to you right now. Chuck has a way of stripping away the layers of complexity and helping us see the heart of the matter. In Clinging to Hope, he validates our emotional weaknesses while at the same time replacing them with solid biblical counsel.

Not platitudes or clever statements that you hang on your refrigerator but timeless truths from the Bible. For anyone dealing with disappointment, discouragement or disputes, you'll greatly appreciate Chuck's latest book called, Clinging to Hope. And you can purchase a copy today by going to insight.org slash hope or call us if you're listening in the United States call 800-772-8888.

Well, this season will go down in history as one of the most contentious periods on record with nations at war with each other and heated debates on how to solve complicated global problems. Against this backdrop of hopelessness, we are so grateful for our monthly companions and all who support Insight for Living with contributions. Your gifts send a fresh breeze of God's grace and hope into places that are overcome by fear. So as you measure the impact of Chuck's teaching on your life and as God prompts you to share this Bible teaching with others who are desperate for hope, we invite you to join us in this worthy mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. To give a donation today, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or you can give online at insight.org slash donate. You've heard him teach about the Holy Land using word pictures to make us feel like we're actually strolling through the old city. Learning about Jerusalem is fascinating for sure, but seeing the land of Israel with your own eyes is life changing.

In fact, it's absolutely magnificent. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and the gracious hosts and experts assembled by Insight for Living Ministries. Join us on an unforgettable 12 day tour March 5th through the 16th, 2023. At special sites along the way, I will teach from God's word. We'll worship at the Mount of Beatitudes and share the Lord's table at the Garden Tomb. In fact, we'll sail the Sea of Galilee together and we'll visit places where Jesus walked and taught.

To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along those sacred sites and seeing the Bible come to life before your very eyes. Mark your calendar for March 5th through the 16th, 2023 and make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444 or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for Living Ministries tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us when Chuck Swindoll describes when God heals body and soul. Friday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, When Suffering Leaves Its Mark, was copyrighted in 2019 and 2022 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-25 19:08:47 / 2022-12-25 19:16:09 / 7

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