While we all prefer perfect weather with no storms in our lives, monsoons of suffering are going to happen. This world is broken. This becomes most obvious to us when we face our own times of suffering. When this happens, the question is: how do we respond? How do we suffer well? We are going to talk about this today by looking at what Scripture has to say about suffering. As we study Scripture, we are going to see that God is good all the time, even in our suffering.
Describe your ideal weather forecast. Why would that be your favorite?
1. What monsoons of suffering do you see going on in other people's lives around you?
2. Are you going through a monsoon of suffering right now? If so, what is it?
3. Read Romans 8:18-25. Based on these verses, what is one major cause of suffering in the world?
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
4. What hope do these verses provide for us as we face our suffering?
5. Read James 1:2-4. What do these verses tell us about how God works during our suffering?
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
6. Has there been a time when God used suffering in your life so that you would grow in your relationship with Him?
7. How might God be working during your time of suffering right now? What are some steps that you can take to be joyful in the midst of suffering?
The best thing we can do for each other is pray during our times of suffering. Small Group leaders, write down everyone's name in the group on a piece of paper. Then, have everyone draw a person's name. Have each group member commit to praying daily for the name that they have chosen for the next week. Then, spend some time praying as a group for each other. As you pray, have confidence that God is still good, even in our suffering.
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And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.