Luke 21 Lesson

Suffering, Endurance, And Perseverance

In today’s lesson, we will answer the question:

Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

This is an important question to be able to answer because it has serious implications relative to our faith.  If we do not understand why bad things happen to good people, it will be harder for us to endure and persevere through life’s many challenges.

SATAN IS THE "RULER OF THE EARTH"

Did you know that Satan is referred to as the “ruler of the earth” several times in the Bible? That is not something that we hear a lot, but that is exactly what the Bible says. Consider the following four scriptures: and then consider what implications they have for us as we follow Christ and seek out a path to Heaven:

  1. “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one .” - 1 John 5:19,
  2. “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” - 2 Corinthians 4:4,
  3. “The ruler of this world will be cast out.” -John 12:31,
  4. “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” - John 14:30.

In these four verses, Satan is referred to as:

  • “The evil one,”
  • “The god of this world,”
  • And “The ruler of the world” twice.

Knowing this, we need to pause and consider the implications for those of us that are seeking to go to Heaven. Understanding that Satan is the ruler of the earth explains a lot of the tragedies and evil that we see on a day-to-day basis. When we understand that God is permitting Satan to rule the earth for a period of time, it helps explain why bad things happen to good people.

SUFFERING IS PART OF GOD’S PLAN

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained that God allows good things to happen to bad people, and bad things to happen to good people:

  • “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. ” – Mathew 5:43-45.

The above scripture talks about both the rain and the sun. That is interesting because, on the one hand, rain is necessary to sustain life. It waters the plants and replenishes the seas.  On the other hand, water causes flooding which can cause catastrophic damage and even death.

Similarly, the sun sustains life, but it can also take it (droughts, skin cancer, etc.).

When you read the above scripture (Mathew 5:43-45), understand that it is talking about how God allows bad things to happen to good people, and vice-versa.

We need to understand that God is not the source of these “bad things,” Satan is. We also need to understand the three reasons why God allows suffering:

  1. To teach us,
  2. To discipline us,
  3. To reveal His supreme power.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he said the following:

  • “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.” – Romans 5:3-5.

The above scripture tells us that God uses suffering to teach us. Through our tribulations, we develop perseverance, character, and ultimately, hope.  And while nobody likes adversity while they are going through it, it is a great teacher!

Another reason that God allows us to experience suffering is to discipline us. The Hebrew writer wrote about this in the following passage:

  • “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” - Hebrews 12:5-6.

The third reason that God allows us to suffer is to keep us humble and to remind us of just how dependent on Him we are. When everything is going perfectly in our lives, Satan can trick us into having a false sense of security. If we never had any problems, we might begin to think that we can make it on our own and that we do not need God.

SUFFERING IS TEMPORARY

The good news for us all is that suffering in this life is temporary and nothing compared to the joy that awaits those who are faithful to the Lord. Consider the following two scriptures:

  1. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” - 1 Peter 5:10,
  2. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” - Romans 8:18.

ENDURANCE AND PERSEVERANCE

Now that we understand that Satan is the source of all evil on earth and not God, we need to look at the importance of endurance and perseverance in the life of a Christian.

  1. Endurance: “The ability to withstand hardship or adversity. Especiallythe ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.” (Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
  2. Perseverance: “Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.” (Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

The above definitions use the words:

  1. Hardship,
  2. Adversity,
  3. Difficulties,
  4. And opposition.

The Bible is clear that we are all going to suffer.  Jesus suffered, the Apostles suffered, and we too will suffer.  The key for us is to stay focused on what lies ahead and to persevere! 

BIBLE VERSES ABOUT ENDURANCE AND PERSEVERANCE

As we have seen, Satan is the source of all evil and suffering on earth. Our role as Christians is to persevere, endure, and never lose hope! For today’s lesson, we have highlighted three additional Bible verses on the topics of perseverance and endurance.  They encourage us to keep going, to not lose hope, and to keep our eye on the prize that awaits the faithful in Jesus:

  1. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” - James 1:12,
  2. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” - Galatians 6:9,
  3. “We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” - Romans 5:3-5.

CONCLUSION

Satan is the ruler of the earth for a limited time. Because of this, suffering is inevitable in the life of a Christian.

Suffering is part of God’s plan. He allows it to teach us, to discipline us, and to help us reach our full potential as Christians.  And while suffering is never pleasant, it is a crucial step in the development of any Christian.  It is also only temporary.  

The Book of Revelation tells us that after his reign, Satan will be defeated and condemned for all eternity:

  • “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” - Revelation 20:10.

We will end today’s lesson with the following words spoken by the Apostle Paul. They are the same words that we want to be able to say at the end of our time on earth.

  • "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.   Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Comments

Virtual Bible Study

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think and feel?
2) How can you apply what you have just learned to something specific that is happening in your life?

***PLEASE POST YOUR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS HERE***

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Virtual Bible Study

1) What did today’s Bible study make you think and feel?
2) How can you apply what you have just learned to something specific that is happening in your life?

***PLEASE POST YOUR QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS HERE***

Reply
Dan Wheeler

Patience is vital to complete our service. Jesus said, "The one who endures to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24.13).

Reply
John

A lot of us are going through tough times with the global pandemic.

This lesson on endurance and hope is very timely.

Keeping perspective regarding the temporary pain of this world and the eternal joy in heaven will see us all through this.

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