Eternal Part 3 - Perspectives on Suffering
This Sunday, Rob Lea brings us the talk in the latest of our EBC Online services. Once you have watched the video, we encourage you to reflect on the bible text and join us in the prayer that follows below.
To listen to the talk click here.
Genesis chapter 50, verses 19 to 21 (NIV translation)
‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
John chapter 16, verses 19 to 22 (NIV translation)
Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again. I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labour. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. So, you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.
Prayer & Reflection
Lord God, in a world that is rapidly changing, we thank you that you are our never-changing Saviour, and because you know the end from the beginning you have an infinite and eternal perspective. Please develop in us an unwavering trust in the hope that you have given us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We choose again today to fix our eyes, not on the suffering and evil that surround us, but on you alone, our rock and saviour. AMEN
Questions to Consider
1. What is your personal experience of suffering? How did you feel and how did you cope?
2. What would you reply to someone who says that suffering and evil prove that God doesn’t exist?
3. As an example of how perspective can distort our opinion and reaction, I gave the simple example of a child at the dentist. Can you think of any other examples?
4. Do you know the story of Joseph as related in the bible (Genesis 37-50)? If you haven’t read it before or recently, can I encourage you to read it now? Can you think of any other biblical examples of God’s eternal perspective?
5. Do you agree that Jesus’ death and resurrection is the greatest example of God’s eternal perspective? Do you think that we fully understand the “cosmic consequences” of the cross?
6. The greatest suffering comes when hope departs. Is that true? If you think yes, why? If you think no, why?