Skip to content

Why does God allow suffering?

Sermon text

Sermon audio

Powerpoint slides


John 11 is the problem of suffering in miniature:

Jesus could prevent the suffering (v1-6)

Instead He allows it

It's more glorious this way.

When we turn to darkness, the Lord does not prevent us, He pursues us.

Martha doesn't understand - she's comforted with doctrine. (v20-27)

Mary doesn't understand - she's comforted with tears. (v32-35)

But Jesus doesn't just weep, His word is incredibly powerful.  (v38-44)

Jesus raises and sets free - this is His glory.

The first sight Lazarus would see is the tear-stained face of Christ.

The Resurrection suffers to bring life.

He could heal but doesn't

His ultimate purpose is not to patch up the old creation

His glory is resurrection and the world is invited.

Some receive it, some stand against it. (v45-46)

6 thoughts on “Why does God allow suffering?

  1. Ephrem Hagos

    The faith of the disciples (including Martha and Mary) in Jesus Christ was put to the test and failed completely. God did not allow suffering; they did. That is why Jesus wept.

  2. BreaksLikeCrystal

    But why when he could does he not? It's not an open invitation entirely though is it - somewhere in the Bible it says many are called but few are CHOSEN. Even if we are open to receive it, he choses whether or not he wants us.

    Suffering is inevitable because we are all evil and sinful and until we are perfect robots it will be the defining image of the world.

    Evil and suffering cannot be contained. They spread and grow and become more aggressive as they do. Ultimately their destruction will be awesome, but whilst we live in the centre of it, surrounded by death and darkness it is something that we can only dream of, knowing that we will live our whole lives out without seeing it.

  3. Glen

    Hey BreaksLikeCrystal,
    You ask a good question. It's exactly the question they're asking again and again in John 11 - have a read and you'll see it asked by almost every character in the passage! At the heart of the answer is Christ's determination to bring about resurrection rather than healing. That's true for John 11 and for the whole world.

    As for the 'many called, few chosen' - look up the context (Matt 22:1-14) - it's all about a free offer to all. He genuinely wants His banqueting house full. Those who refuse have only themselves to blame. Perhaps read/listen to my sermon on this here:

    In the midst of suffering, Jesus comes down into the midst of it. He joins us, weeps with us, and will bring us through.

  4. BreaksLikeCrystal

    But what if he doesn't bring us through in our lifetime? Then we all just spend our whole lives weeping and never see any light in the dark. We just experience so much personal suffering that their is no respite to our sorrow.

  5. Glen

    Jesus offers both comfort in sorrow and hope for the future. Without Him, there is still sorrow, but it's hopeless, comfortless sorrow.

    PSALM 42:

    As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. 5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and 6 my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon--from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. 8 By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me--a prayer to the God of my life. 9 I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?" 10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?" 11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Twitter widget by Rimon Habib - BuddyPress Expert Developer