Intro: As we continue asking big questions such as, “Does Life Have Purpose” or “Is there a God,” tonight we dig even deeper. It is no surprise to look around and feel as if the world isn’t as it ought to be. Tonight’s topic provides an obstacle for many questioning whether God exists or can be trusted. Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering?
If this is a hard question for you, know that you are not alone.
Question: How have these questions affected your understanding over the past couple weeks? Have they led to any kind of conversations at school?
Question: Where do you currently see pain and suffering?
Question: How have you seen people relate to God as a result of pain and suffering?
We are about to watch a brief video that displays various questions, struggles and perspectives on this topic.
WATCH VIDEO NOW – PULSE OF THE WORLD: Pain & Suffering
The point of this video is to create a tension. Don’t seek to resolve it yet!
Let’s take some time to discuss what we just watched:
Did you identify with anyone’s expressed views in the film? Which ones resonated with you?
Was it surprising to learn that the top question people would ask God is, “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?” Why or Why not?
What would be some questions you would ask as it relates to this topic?
SECTION 2: Tension (15-20 minutes)
(Take a minute to set up video) Watch The Curiosity Collective
Did you connect with any of these stories? Which one?
Someone said in the video, “Some of the best lessons I’ve learned in life…came from very painful times.” In what ways might good come from bad? What are your experiences with this?
If there is a God, why do you think He allows evil in the world? (Did God make a mistake?)
Do you think God understands our suffering and is seeking to heal it?
SECTION 3: Content (20 minutes)
Scripture gives us a picture of God’s heart and plan for such a broken world. Consider these 4 themes.
The last question is one that we answer through the way we view or understand God’s character.
“God finds joy in our suffering.”
“God is not there. He is not listening”
“God is with me.”
Creation: Read Genesis 1:27-30 (Emphasis on v. 30)
Question: What this says about God?
CT: Everything was created in perfect Shalom. Shalom is a Hebrew word that basicallymeans complete peace and wholeness.
CT: God’s heart is that we would experience in completeness; experience Shalom and enjoy Him forever. God created everything and said, “It is good.”
Fall: Read Genesis 3:1-13
Question: What does this say about man?
CT: Enter brokenness. Where humanity had everything needed, deception and pride led man to actively rebel against God’s best for them, sin. This broke Shalom.
CT: This rebellion is more than taking a bite of fruit. It was an action with an unrealistic intent to be equal with God, the very one that created everything for His and our good.
CT: Like any crime or act of rebellion, there is a presence of consequences and justice. Thus, enter pain and suffering for human kind’s continued rebellion.
CT: By continuing to choose anything other than God’s best, we are ultimately stating that we know and understand life better than our Creator.
Question: Is pain and suffering more an indictment on God or man?
Redemption: Read Romans 5:12-21
Question: Where do you see the Gospel?
CT: God never stopped pursuing humanity.
CT: The feasible way to restore a broken creation was to personally come to our rescue.
Question: How does God planning to redeem/restore a broken creation affect your understanding of pain and suffering?
Question: How does God identify/relate to our suffering and pain?
Glory: Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
CT: This world and anything in it is not our reward. There is more.
CT: Because Jesus has conquered sin and death through His sacrifice, God’s wrath is satisfied and Shalom will be fully restored. The Gospel is actively redeeming creation.
CT: While we are here, we will experience brokenness, but take heart. Have Hope. God is actively working to draw creation to Himself and will bring ultimate peace and restoration.
Read John 16:33
SECTION 4: Closing
The Problem of Evil (philosophy) states that an all-powerful and perfectly good God would not allow evil to exist in the world. Responses to this argument vary within Christianity and other faiths. Maybe it’s a test of our faith. Or perhaps God is simply unable to change our circumstances.
Close by reading Romans 8:18. Scripture proposes that, despite the painful circumstances in which we often find ourselves, God can somehow use them for his and our good.
Question: In what ways might your pain and suffering reveal something good and beautiful in the world today? (Answers are not necessary. Let group think about it.)