Questions of Suffering – Gospel in Life

Questions of Suffering

Tim Keller |  January 6, 2008

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  • Suffering
  • God's Love
  • Jesus' Death & Resurrection
Job 1:8-22
RS 200-1


When you suffer, it’s natural to ask the question, “Why?” Instinctively, it’s sometimes the very first thing out of our mouths when tragedy hits: “Why me? Why this? Why now?”

There’s no other book of the Bible or piece of literature that addresses the great why question of suffering with the intellectual and philosophical integrity and deftness, the emotional and dramatic realism, and the spiritual wisdom of the book of Job.

This text teaches us three things about the why question of suffering: 1) you have to avoid pat answers, 2) you need to embrace living without an answer, and 3) you need to anticipate the ultimate answer.

Understanding Suffering Through Job 1:8-22

The book of Job is a rich source for understanding suffering. It includes talks between God and Satan, and Job with his friends, and most importantly, between God and Job. It shows us that we don’t always need immediate answers for suffering and reminds us that our pain will eventually be resolved.

1. Avoid simple explanations

When we see suffering, we might think it’s either a punishment for bad behavior or just random bad luck. But Job’s story shows us there’s more to it. Even though God allows suffering, He doesn’t cause it. He uses it to stop evil and bring about good. Job didn’t know why he was suffering, but he stayed faithful to God, showing us that it’s important to keep our faith, even when we can’t control what’s happening.

2. Be okay without having all the answers

We often help others hoping to get something in return. But Job’s story shows us the value of faith in God even when things are tough. It teaches us to value people for who they are, not what they can give us. Suffering can be confusing, but serving God for His sake only, and not for what we can get, teaches us about true love and faith.

3. Look forward to the ultimate solution

There’s a lie that God doesn’t love us, and it’s been around since Satan first told it to Adam and Eve. When we suffer, we might start to believe it. But Jesus shows us the truth by dying on the cross. Despite our pain, we can believe in God’s love and try to follow Jesus in our faith.



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