Does God Really Understand My Pain and Suffering?
The Point: Jesus willingly experienced pain and suffering for our salvation.
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
In December Howard Kirby bought a second-hand couch from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Owosso, Michigan. After he got it home, he notice that the ottoman that came with the couch felt kind of uncomfortable when he sat on it. So his daughter-in-law opened up the cushion and found a box inside the cushion. The box was filled with cash—a lot of cash. There was $43,170 in Kirby’s second-hand furniture. “I still have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming or something,” said Kirby. That he found so much money in the used furniture was surprising. But what happened next might be even more surprising. Kirby talked to an attorney who told him that he was not obligated to return the money. But Kirby said it didn’t feel right, so he called the store and found out who donated the couch. Kim Fauth-Newberry had donated the couch – it had originally belonged to her grandfather Phillip Fauth who died in 2019. So Kirby returned the money to Fauth-Newberry. “It’s just crazy,” Fauth-Newberry said. “I always thought, ‘What would I do if that ever happened,’ and now I know, and it makes me feel good,” Kirby said.
Say: The story of Howard Kirby finding the money and then returning it (when he technically did not have to return it) might surprise some people. Then direct attention to question #1 (When has the ending to a story totally surprised you?) and invite volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Get Into the Study (Additional Option)
In advance, using a phone or other electronic device, load the song “Man of Sorrows” by Shane & Shane or a similar song about the suffering of Christ. Invite group members to bow their heads while the song plays to allow for reflection and to help set the tone for this lesson on Jesus’s suffering.
This idea supports the teaching plan in the Adult Leader Guide.
Use the following information to supplement Question #5.
On January 7, an earthquake struck Puerto Rico, leaving about 700 homes destroyed or uninhabitable. Aftershocks followed and more homes were damaged, resulting in around 8,000 people moving into makeshift shelters. The Iglesia Bautista La Gracia (Grace Baptist Church) is using their building as a shelter for people who have lost their homes. This is just one of the churches in Puerto Rico stepping up to meet physical needs for shelter, food, and water. The North American Mission Board’s Send Relief ministry is helping the churches of Puerto Rico by sending food, water, and other supplies, for them to share with the people in need. The Puerto Rican pastors and volunteers are praying that they will have opportunities to share the Gospel message with the people they are helping. Jonathan Santiago is a Send Relief missionary in Puerto Rico. “Pray for our churches and volunteers that as opportunities to share the Gospel open up, that we take them,” he asked. “I keep reminding our volunteers that though we are here helping to meet needs, our hope is to be able to have the chance to share the Gospel.”
Say: The churches of Puerto Rico are communicating God’s love by meeting their neighbors’ physical needs. Call attention to question #5 (How can we communicate God’s love and understanding when others are suffering?) and invite volunteers to respond to the question.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
— Donna McKinney wrote these Leader Extras. Donna is retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in North Carolina.
In advance, print out several warning signs. Post these at the entrance to the room where you meet.
Call attention to these signs and say, “No one likes to suffer. We normally avoid dangerous situations whenever possible. What are some reasons why we might ignore warning signs and willingly enter into a dangerous or damaging situation?” After time for discussion, direct your group to the Point: Jesus willingly experienced pain and suffering for our salvation.
This idea supports the teaching plan in the Daily Discipleship Guide.
- What one question would you like to ask God about pain or suffering?
- When have you been surprised by someone’s growth or transformation over time?
- What’s your initial reactions when pain or suffering comes?
- Why is important to know Jesus was familiar with rejection?
- How would you describe rejection in our culture?
- How do these verses describe Jesus?
- What strikes you as surprising from these verses? Why?
- What words does Isaiah use here to describe the depths of Jesus’ suffering?
- Why are these verses so valuable for our understanding of Christ’s suffering?
- What is the promised end result of Jesus’ suffering?
- Where do you see justice and injustice in these verses?
- What can we learn from these verses about God’s mercy and justice?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: When Life Gets Hard, Session 5.
This article complements the study. Share this link with your group members.
- HomeLife – IT’S OK (not to be OK)