In this episode
- A reminder to subscribe to our newsletter
- A personal note about the blog and podcast
- A segment from chapter 4 of our audiobook, including the story of Horatio Spafford
- Notes from the blog
- Episode blog post: Suffering: Why does a loving God allow it?
- Podcast introduction: Yabo Obien
- Logo design: Jeff Lyons at Light & Story
- Original music: Makeup and Vanity Set
- Kindle version of Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by John Hendryx at Monergism.com
- Text for Precious Remedies provided by GraceGems.org
Welcome back to the Theodio Podcast, I’m your host Dan Kassis.
Each week here on Theodio we’re walking though the book Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks, one section at a time. Along with a segment of our original audio production of the book, we provide commentary and fresh insight, bringing this work of classic theology to life for you.
There’s also the Theodio Blog. It’s where we break down and explain these devices and their remedies. Visit theodio.com and click the “blog” link on the top menu to see the whole series, starting with the most recent.
At the end of every post, and on the homepage too, there’s an opportunity to sign up for our newsletter. All we need for now is your email address. Sign up, then check your email account for a confirmation from us. Click that link and you’re good to go. You’ll be the first to know when we publish a new post, and you’ll also learn about special offers on products, like our full audiobook version of Precious Remedies. Sign up today.
A personal note
As we begin this week’s episode, I want to share something personal with you. This podcast, and the blog post that accompanies it, almost didn’t happen. In fact, I came close to trashing the entire Theodio experiment.
Look at the dates between my post on suffering and the one before it. Twenty-two months separate them. That’s how long I went without doing a thing with Theodio. I was so discouraged, I considered cancelling my membership with Rainmaker, the service that runs everything, and giving up.
But then my wife encouraged me to keep going a little longer. I had been working from home a couple of months since the pandemic hit. I had more free time. Why not dust this thing off and see what happens?
Imagine my surprise when I saw the subject of the next post: suffering. It was exactly what I needed, when I needed it. The whole world was suffering due to the coronavirus. Tens of thousands of people were already dead. Millions were jobless, homeless, without hope. I knew I had to give it a try.
Now, can one little blog and podcast explain the meaning of suffering to a hurting world? Of course not. But I’m sure glad now that I didn’t give up. And I want to thank all of you who listen for sticking with us. Has this show provided any glimmer of hope to you? If so, I’d sure like to hear your story. Email me at email@example.com, or drop a comment on the blog.
The meaning of suffering
If you’re going to find hope in the midst of suffering from one source, it needs to be the Bible. The reality of suffering is no stranger to the Scriptures. Listen to the word of Asaph, an ancient worship leader, in a song he wrote for his people to sing together.
You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.
I said, “Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart.”
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
“Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah (Psalm 77:4–9, ESV)
This is a portion of the psalm Thomas Brooks references in the opening of this third device Satan uses to keep us “sad, doubting, questioning, and uncomfortable.” In today’s language, we might voice such thoughts like this:
“How could God allow me to suffer? Why would a loving God let this happen? If there is a God, surely this wouldn’t be part of his plan.”
As long as humans have walked the earth we have said things like this. If we even entertain the possibility of a supreme being, a sovereign god, we naturally wonder what is the purpose and meaning of suffering, pain and sorrow.
But to ask these questions is to make a supposition: that the existence of an essentially good god precludes the existence of suffering. We assume that if God is generally for us he could not allow events that are evidently against us.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob never promises this, though. But you might not know this based on how God is marketed to the public in many of today’s churches. We gloss over hardship in favor of success, victory, and ever-increasing satisfaction in the faith of our choosing.
We forget what the Bible actually promises to those who become God’s adopted sons and daughters through Christ – suffering, struggle, doubt, rejection, loneliness, and even persecution. Sometimes Christianity can feel like trading in one set of sorrows for another.
It isn’t always this way, of course. Faith in Christ also brings hope, peace, contentment, and persevering joy. But we must remember what Job asked his wife in the midst of unspeakable suffering: “Should we only accept good from God and not adversity?” Do we dare assume God owes his children a life of ease, freedom from suffering, and avoidance of pain? Will we refuse to consider he has greater purposes in mind for the darkness that sometimes obscures his light?
Let’s listen to Thomas Brooks as he shares his remedies for overcoming these false assumptions.
Thanks for joining us on this episode of the Theodio Podcast. Next time we’re going to dig into one of the Bible’s most important subjects: grace. What is it? How does God define it? How might that differ from what we think about, when we think about grace?
We’ll answer those questions and more. Please come back again.