Doubting Doubts: How can a good, powerful God allow evil and suffering?

The question of evil and suffering comes from a deep cry for justice in our world … a cry for God. When we come to understand that God is weaving a beautiful plan in the midst of evil and suffering, we begin to see suffering as the path to glory. We learn how much better Christ is than any earthly gift and how He can sustain us in pain. We then can experience a part of God we never knew.

Open: Describe a time you wrestled with evil and suffering in your journey with Christ:

Read: Mark 4:35-41; Romans 8:20-22; 1 Peter 1 and 4

Discuss:

1. In what ways have you heard genuine questions in our culture concerning God and the response of evil and suffering? Why does this topic strike such a chord with society? Why is this one of the biggest questions among Christians? How does this topic create doubt in our faith?

2. How can the existence of evil and suffering actually prove the existence of God? What bad advice have you received from people during your times of suffering? In what ways were they genuinely misinformed?

3. How do evil and suffering stem from the fall in Genesis 3?  How is this seen both in nature and morality? In Mark 4, what do you make of Jesus sleeping during the storm? Do you believe this was an intentional part of His plan for the disciples? How does evil and suffering lead to a sense of fear and abandonment?

4. How does knowing that God has an end plan for evil and suffering help you endure in the here and now? In what ways have God’s purpose through your suffering been evident throughout your life?

Resources:

            The Reason for God, Tim Keller

            Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, John Piper

            If God is Good, Randy Alcorn

            The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis

Pray: Pray that the evil and suffering that you see in life would press you into the greater purpose and plan of God.

Memorize/Meditate:  Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.                       1 Peter 4:12-13