The Truth About Pain and Suffering
The Truth About Pain and Suffering
Psalm 23:4, NKJV
Pain as a privilege; instead of problems as a pain.
Suffering is a regular part of our physical and spiritual journey through this fallen world. The problem we have with pain and suffering is we often question God’s love, power and even existence when we endure suffering.
Paul considered it an honor to bear on His body. (Galatians 6:17, NLT2) Saints in scripture look at pain as a privilege rather than problems as a pain. God did not pick Job because of his unworthiness, but because he was worthy. (Job 1:8, NKJV)
Jesus endured unbelievable pain on the cross, then being forsaken by His Father, when He knew no sin, that we might become righteousness of God. The greatest pain ever brought about also brought about the greatest good ever. (2 Corinthians 5:21, NKJV) Paul understood that his pain was a privilege reserved for those whom God entrusted with sorrow. (Philippians 3:10, NKJV)
God welcomes us into a deeper and more profound fellowship with Himself in our suffering.
Pain is inevitable; misery is optional.
Pain and sorrow spares no one. To be comforted, you have to be hurting. (Psalm 23:4, NKJV) Blaming God, hiding from God, withdrawing from God during pain will only lead to bitterness and a target for Satan to destroy us. There is a ministry or mission directly linked to every personal suffering. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NKJV)
Two-part ministry in suffering:
Give God time to comfort us. Start giving back to keep it. (Start ministering to others that are hurting and suffering. (1 Peter 4:12-13, ESV; 1 Peter 4:19, ESV) Don’t waste the pain. Don’t run from God; instead run to God. Jesus does understand our pain and suffering and wants to walk with us through it.
Sermon Video Transcription
James Greer (00:00):
Well, good morning Journey Church. Man, I’m excited to be back. We had a great time, but there is no place like home, man. I tell you, I appreciate Brother Darrell and Alexandria campus. Amen. Woo. He rocked the house and Brother Richie did too. Hey, if you want to know why we’re sitting at the table, because I hadn’t sat down enough, I’d only been on a plane for 30 hours. Now, we’re getting ready for our new series starting next week and next Sunday and it’s going to be a table for two and we’ll add another table and you don’t want to miss that. It’ll be coming from Psalms,the 23rd Psalm, and it talks about how to have every real need met in your entire life. I want to tell you, you might want to miss some Sundays. You don’t want to miss all Sundays, but you sure don’t want to miss next Sunday. Amen? Then you hear a lot of talk about February 12th, and I am Journey Church, before even talking about that, that last song, that man, that Abby AND the praise team was singing. It’s fantastic. It said, show us your glory. And one of the things I’m finding out more and more is, so many times God is showing forth his glory through his people. I was looking for it sometimes just like, man, I want it to just come into the sky or I don’t know. I want the handwriting on the wall. But, in the last few years I’m seeing work through people’s lives. I’m seeing the glory of God just working through them.
James Greer (01:02):
We’re going to even talk about that a little bit today. But first of all, I want to talk about February 12th again. I want to show you a few pictures from the trip. I just can’t help it. You know, I just, I love it. I know I’m blessed to be able to travel. When I was growing up until I was married, I never went on vacation my entire life. t’s okay. I never knew what it’s like to go on vacation. We didn’t go out to eat, we just didn’t go on vacations. It’s just part of life. And so some of you are that way.
James Greer (01:51):
So, I hope when I do that that you all don’t take it the wrong way. I hope it’s that I’m wanting to share that you all are getting to go with me. Because I never did get to do that. But, let me show you one. The first one here, there’s my wife and behind her is this is really this beautiful, I mean, well 65,000 game lodge and it was fantastic. That elephant right there, they say don’t stand up, don’t move. That’s where we were, that’s not who we are. We are Journey Church. That’s what you are going to find out when you come. We are going to have an unveiling about I am Journey Church and I want you to come. The so important, because I want you to know sometimes you do things and sometimes you say things and that’s not who you are. That’s what you did.
James Greer (03:08):
Then, we got to travel some more. And then that’s me and Debbie standing before the statue of Nelson Mandela. His first speech after he was let out of prison. That was so cool. The prison was behind him. And you hear the story of what about him and what a great example of a leader and you know we teach a lot about leadership here at church. Some of you are going to go through something that’s called leadership pipeline, and I just love leadership. But, what you don’t know and you’ll learn is that leadership is influence. Most people want leadership influence without the pain. You can’t have it. You can only grow in leadership to the pain you’re willing to endure.
James Greer (04:05):
He was willing to endure 27 years in prison. Then he helped change a continent and he helped change a world. They were explaining why even even before he got out of prison, you know, they started bringing him suits, because they realized through the revolution, that he was going to become president. And then when you get him to get out, and you see pictures, they showed off his speeches, that he still shuffled and they said, why didn’t he take big strides, because after 27 years and chains and shackles you couldn’t take big strides. Over the years They’d let him out. They said, we would let you free, if you just will change your mind, and you will quit trying to lead a revolution. And he wouldn’t do it. Leadership is influenced, but true leadership is painful.
James Greer (04:53):
But, that’s where we were. That’s not who we are. Come to the Alexander campus February the 12th and learn, I am Journey Church. Amen? And then we got this great thing on the way over there. We decided, I wish we’d done it on the way back. We’re going to stop in this plain country called Dubai. And spend the night, which I should’ve done it coming back, but we did. And so we took this little tour and we took a boat taxi over the water. They told us how great a country it was. It was pretty great. I said, you know, 68% everybody lives here. They’re multimillionaires. We have no unemployment. We have no homeless, we have no crime. I thought, well that’s pretty good. If we have any crime, you’re automatically deported. Everybody works. No homeless. The cleanest place I’ve ever seen in my life.
James Greer (05:40):
I said, well, how do you all do that? He said, we have a king. But, we have a king that wants what’s best for the people. I said, I don’t think I want a dictatorship, but he’s doing something right. It’s beautiful. But, that’s where we were. That’s not who we are. We’re, you know, we’re Journey Church. Come February 12th and let’s go to the other campus and find out, I am Journey Church. Amen? And then last I want to say, look, you have this last picture? You can you all see those two guys, one on the left, one on the right to dah, dah, dah. And he’s got his hand up there. Those are two gay guys we met. That’s not who I am. That’s who we were with. I am Journey Church.
James Greer (06:26):
But, we’re going to be preaching about gays. I want to tell you, we spent a lot of time with those guys. And what I found out is that we had a fantastic time. They’re both doctors, and God always has this sense of humor. Seems like if I’m going to preach about something, God puts me in that situation. It’s just hilarious. You know, we’re all sitting there and naturally who gets to eat dinner with them? Me and Debbie, of course. And of course, they came with their parents, and their dad’s a doctor as well. Everybody said, I wonder if they’re brothers. No, not my wife. Debbie says, are you all married? Just yeah, we are by the way. She said good, good, good. How long have you been married? I said Debbie. One says three years, one says three and a half. I said somebody is going to be in trouble. That’s all. What do you all say? And they said, well, we’re both right. One time it wasn’t legal and one time it was not. I didn’t get into that. What I did find out, I said, God, I appreciate you putting me in that situation. You know, I may not agree with what they do, but I can learn to love the people. And so God has such a great sense of humor.
James Greer (07:26):
We’re doing 2020 investigation. I’m going to give you a rapid response to some of the question that was asked, but then I want to eventually see if I can work myself down to number five. I was asked, would you talk about black and white dating? And I will, again. I’m going to give you a short answer, but then if you want the long answer, you can call Sharon on Monday, and I’ve got about a 10 or 12 page written message on it, and you’re welcome to have it. Is unevenly yoked speaking directly about Christians and non-Christians or does it include ethnic, racial, and denominational? You can get that. I have that too. If you kill yourself, do you go to heaven or where does it really say in the Bible, you don’t go to heaven? Can you be forgiven of all sexual sins including homosexuals and can a homosexual even go to heaven? And then fifth, will God really comfort those that are hurting and suffering?
James Greer (08:33):
That’s what I want to work my way down to, but I’m going to call it rapid response. So, the first one I’m going to say you know is is really, I’m going to talk about black and white dating and shock of my life. We get to Africa, right? 79% of the whole population is black. 10% is white, 9% is colored and 2% is Asian. So, they tell us that about three times. I’m not that sharp. What’s the difference between black and colored? Anybody know? No.
James Greer (09:22):
Well, there’s a big difference. I said, well, what is it? Colored is anybody that’s married to anybody other than black. So, if they married a white or an Asian or anybody else then they are colored. So, they have categories. Just a reminder though, that white are the minority in many other parts of the world, even though you don’t know that. So, the question is not what you think. It’s not how you feel. It’s not how you were brought up. The question was, is it wrong? That was the question. Now, all the other questions are ,more. In John 3:16 it really answered it, said for God so loved the, what did God so love? Oh, did he did he gave his only begotten son that who should believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Can I give you all free insight? The world is a big place. And when you travel, like I just travel, you know it is big. It includes blacks, it includes whites, it includes Asians and Brother Daryl. It includes Mexicans. Just throwing that in.
James Greer (10:32):
It even includes homosexuals. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be what? Oh, let me give you another verse. 1 Samuel 16:7 let me just read part of it. It says, for the Lord does not see as man sees. So, the Bible is saying that man sees things one way, and God sees it as something else. Amen? It said, man basically looks on the outside, but then it said, but God looks on the heart. Is that where it says yes or no? So that’s what it said. Just because God looks on the heart does not mean that the world does not look at it different. So basically there’s no biblical grounds, stay with me, I want you to get this right. There’s no biblical grounds that says black and whites cannot date or marry. Okay. But, it also says the world looks on the what? Outside. And God looks on the heart. So, to be as honest as I can be, there’s many places in many areas, in many parts of society that it will not be socially acceptable. So, you need to know because it may not be socially, but even though it may be biblically correct, you might have experienced undue pressure because of it, and you need to understand that that’s the real truth. Amen? Amen? Thank you, Jesus.
James Greer (12:10):
All right, next question is this, is only unequally yoked speaking directly about just Christians and non Christians or is it ethnic races in denomination? Well, 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, mural clear, do not be unevenly what? Yoked together with non-believers. It says what says. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? What communion has light with darkness? I have taught you over and over and over. Do not date. Do not marry non-practicing Christians. Amen? It’s not addressing necessarily ethnic race or denomination, but it does matter. Don’t date or marry somebody that’s not going to practice and come to worship with you, okay? You don’t want to date somebody, especially that later on will not come and worship with you. Okay? That’s what I mean. Third, this is real serious, but very important. I’ve heard this talk falsely for many years and I’ll tell you why.
James Greer (13:19):
Third, this is real serious, but very important. I’ve heard this talk falsely for many years and I’ll tell you why. Question was this, and several people submitted this, so I decided to address it. If you kill yourself, do you go to heaven and where does it really say in the Bible that you don’t go to heaven? First of all, if a person kills herself, doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that you will not go to heaven. That is not true. Doesn’t say that. The only thing that will keep you from going to heaven is rejection of Jesus Christ as your personal savior. Nothing else, okay. Let’s move on. For time’s sake. I’m not going to get into a whole lot. It is a sin does not please God. It will bring great hurt and sorrow on those that you leave behind, does not keep you out of heaven.
James Greer (14:08):
Where did that tradition come from? Where did that thought come from? Where did people start sharing that? Judas, the one that portrayed Jesus. He did hang himself and he did go to hell, but he didn’t go to hell because even because he betrayed Jesus, he didn’t go to hell because he hung itself. He went to hell, because even when he was sorry, he went back to the priest and confessed to them instead of to Jesus Christ. If even after he betrayed Jesus, if he would’ve gone to Jesus Christ, even though he’s the one that betrayed him, had him go to the cross. If he had gone back and ask him to forgive and all that, Jesus would have forgiven him. So, the answer is no, you’d go to heaven, if you’re truly saved. If you want to read about what Judas did, you can read it in Matthew 7:3-6. I’m not going to do it. Revelation said, Jesus is God. Jesus one has the keys to hell and death and he is the only one that should give life and take life.
James Greer (15:38):
Okay, fourth, we’re covering a lot of ground in a condensed. Any one of those you want to know more about? You can contact Sharon, Monday and she’ll give you the whole thing. Sharon is in MD Anderson with Janet right now. She’s going through major surgery. Can you forgiven of sexual sins? Amen? Even homosexual sins? Can homosexuals go to heaven? I had to think about that one a little bit. I can see the room is already divided. Don’t raise your hand, but if I was going to ask you how many you all think homosexual got to heaven? Somebody said, they’re going into hell, they’re going to hell. Some of you all are saying, they’re going to heaven. Can I ask you one thing? Do you think there’s any sin that God will not forgive? There’s no sin God will not forgive, is there. John 3:15 says this, it makes it really clear, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have what? Should have what? What does whosoever mean? Some of you all, some you all are not like me. Some of you all don’t understand the Greek. And you say, well, Brother James, you sure don’t. Whosoever really means whosoever. What it doesn’t say, whosoever has not committed homosexual, adultery, or fornication, will have eternal life. Well, that’s not what it says It said, whosoever believes in him should have, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
James Greer (16:31):
That’s when it goes to 16. The well known verse of the Bible. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. If you here today and you’ve never done it, that who so ever believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life. You know, and God, he didn’t send his son to the world to condemn you in the world, but that the world through him might be saved. I mean God’s ultimate goal is to deliver you, to save you, to free you, and to bring you to heaven. I do want you to know something.
James Greer (17:22):
Listen to the whole truth though, not part of the truth, and also I want you to know, if you live a habitual lifestyle of homosexuality, adultery, or fornication, you will not completely enjoy the life that God has for you. Romans 1 tells, you’re inviting more problems and pressures and heartaches upon your life. If you want to read it, you can read Romans 1, but especially if you get to Romans 1:27 it says you’ll get paid within their own souls with the penalty that they richly deserve, says you’re continually inviting the consequences of your lifestyle. In other words, I have the testimony of Eric Elder, who is a practicing homosexual that got out of the lifestyle, then got married, had a family raised his kids for 20 something years. His wife died. He had a real desire to go back into it, because it was a comforting thing to him. But, because of Romans 1:27 he said, I don’t need to invite any more consequences and problems into my life right now. And so he did not.
James Greer (18:43):
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is where the big controversy comes from. He said, didn’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t be deceived, neither fornicators nor idolaters, or adulterers nor homosexuals or sodomites. It goes on though, nor thieves, nor greedy, nor drunkenness or slander or swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Now, this is what happens with that verse. I’m not condoning any of the sins. Amen? you all understand that because this is what’s happens with Brother James. I hear it all the time. Sometimes they don’t even know who I am. They say, you know that guy at Journey Church. He is so easy on sin. Well, now I just preach the whole truth. Let you take it wherever you want to. I just told you, if you live that lifestyle, you’re continually inviting problems on your life. Did I did or not? Amen?
James Greer (19:44):
But, it also says you will not inherit the kingdom of God. While those same people talk about adultery, drunkenness, thieves, covetous and all the other things. They want to skip that out and they won’t take one part of it. That’s easy, don’t do that. See, I believe that when it says that, I think is referring to Romans 14:17 when it talks about the kingdom of God. God wants you to experience the kingdom of God. God’s prayer said that kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. He said, man, I want the kingdom of God to come into your life. The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but it’s righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy spirit, and what he is trying to tell you is if you continue to practice those lifestyles you’re not going to have the joy and peace that God has for you. Amen? Okay. I love those pictures of those two gay guys because I knew I was preaching this and I love that God put us all together. I do. Actually, we had a great time together. They were the life of the party. We had a good time together and you know, and you can love the people and you don’t have to condone the sin. Amen? I hope that is our church.
James Greer (20:48):
I hope that no matter what somebody did and what they have done in their past, everybody at Journey Church knows they’re welcome to come. Amen? We don’t agree with it. We might not condone it, but they are welcome here. Amen? Can I tell you something? The truth is, if you welcome him and they’ll come, the Holy spirit will do his job. We don’t have to be the Holy spirit. Amen? You can actually come to church and just enjoy coming to church. Amen?
James Greer (21:19):
Let me try to start wrapping it up. Will God really comfort those people that are in pain and suffering and sorrow? My answer is yes, but how does he do it? We have a lot of people going through a lot of hurts, a lot of suffering, a lot of pain right now, a lot of different things and he really does it through his word, his Holy spirit and his people. The reason for the table is next week we start something called a table for two, and you’ll see another table there and how to have your real needs met. And part of this is based on the 23rd Psalm where it says, the Lord is my, yeah boy, and it’s the Lord is your shepherd. You shall not. What? What does he do? He makes me lie down in green pastures, leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. That means my emotions. He leads me by the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. You’re my rod and my staff. Thy what? Comfort me. To be comforted, you ready? You had to have some hurts, you had to have some pains and you had to have some sorrows. So he uses his word. Listen, his Holy spirit and his people.
James Greer (22:51):
I’m not going to have time to finish, so you all going to have to stay tuned. I’ve been trying to go real slow. Trying to be patient. His word says Psalmist said in 107:20 he said, I set forth my word to heal them, in other words, that means to comfort them. Sometimes the word heal means to bring physical, emotional and spiritual healing. Isaiah 40:1 says comfort. Yes, comfort my people. A lot of times when I hear about all the pains, sorrow and heartaches people are going through, I go to this verse and I say, God, comfort. Please comfort my people. He uses his spirit. That’s part of the Holy Spirit’s job. It says in John 14:16 he says this, he said, I will ask the father Jesus speaking, and he’ll give you another comforter and he’ll never leave you. He goes on and says, his name is the Holy spirit. So, he uses the Holy spirit and then he uses his people. 2 Corinthians 1:3 says, blessed be the God, our father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and the God of all comfort. Who covers us with all our tribulations that we might be able to comfort those who are in trouble. Unfortunately, many times our suffering pains is a direct line for a ministry with a comfort for which we ourselves are comforted by God.
James Greer (23:46):
Let me give you some really quick illustrations of the way God comforts over and over over. I’m going to use our church people and then we’re going to close. It’s the same process. Flying back, 30 hours of flying time. That’s not exciting. After about 15 hours, I get Africa revenge, sick. I lose eight pounds in 24 hours. I pray God’s word. Oh God, please heal me. Still sic. I prayed, Holy spirit comfort me. I’m still sick. By now, I also prayed, God send my wife, I need help and she helped. I was still sick. Same process.
James Greer (24:53):
Let me get more serious. We’ve got all kinds of people going through stuff right now. Take Fred and Ashley Ruggles. He’s, you know, he’s going through throat cancer, and he’s fixing to start his treatments and he can still, it’s God’s word, his Holy spirit and his people. Uh, did you all get to see when he revealed his new treatment? He says, is not what I wanted it to be. I said, I’m fixing to start my treatments, but he said, you know, you all pray with me. What I want to do is be the salt and the light that God called me to be you. You can’t do that. You can’t be comforted on your own like that apart from God’s word, God’s Holy spirit and God’s people. You can say that. Let me give you another one. Janet, Fuqua, Tony called me about 2:43. I looked at the clock yesterday, and before they took her in to do a tracheotomy owner and I said, man, I’m so sorry. I wish I could do. I know. I’ll just tell him how bad I felt for him and everything, you know? He said, well, let me tell you what night before we left. A lady friend of ours came down with a guitar. He said, we sat around and sung praises to God. He said, the Holy spirit fell. He said, there was God’s word, God’s people, you know, and we could just feel God’s presence there.
James Greer (26:27):
He texted me, he said, they just took Janet in. He said I prayed with her and I kissed her. He said, she just smiled that sweet smile. He said, I’m so, so proud of her. Yeah. Does God comfort? Yeah, he comforts. I said, Tony, I’m so sorry you all have to go through this. He said, well, he said, you know, it’s okay. He said, it’s going to be okay. I told her, no matter what, it’s going to be okay. He said, you remember when your granddaughter died? He said, you remember, I don’t remember if you or the other preacher read it, but he said, you remember when he said, eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, nor have either entered in the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those loving this. Him saying this said, you taught us that. He said the difference is we believe that. Yeah, I do believe that God can comfort us. I believe he can comfort us through our pain and suffering and sorrow. I don’t want to go through that, but I’m getting to see people go through it like I’ve never seen in my life. And some of you all here today, maybe you need that kind of comfort. And I came here to tell you. We’ve got one of our own members, Julia William’s son was just shot and killed. I don’t see him here, but I understand he’s already at church today serving.
James Greer (27:47):
So, I do believe that the Psalms 23:4 says, yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil. You know why? For God is with me. He’s my rod and my staff and he comforts me. What you might not understand and will never understand it until heaven. The one of the reasons I believe that God picked Job in the Bible, which was one of the greatest examples of suffering and pain that there ever was. Then God marked him out. He asked Satan, he said, Satan, where you been? He said, to and fro the all earth. He said, do you ever consider my servant Job? He said, but because he’s blameless and upright of all the people on earth, God didn’t pick Job because of his unworthiness. You ready? Because he was worthy. Sometimes the people that you see that are suffering the most, God picked because they were the most worthy. And we’re not going to understand why until heaven. They’re sending a picture in heaven for the angels that we don’t understand. And there’s a picture here on earth that we don’t understand, that we can see. So, sometimes when we say God send forth your glory, sometimes you need to open up your eyes because he’s doing that and sometimes he’s doing it through his people. So what I say is this, God needs to be your shepherd.
James Greer (29:12):
If you’re here today and the Lord is not your shepherd, the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life is today, settle it for sure. The Lord is your shepherd. He’s going to be your guide, your direct, and your protector and you. Maybe you need to let him do that for you today. Maybe you came today and say, Hey, then you won’t have any wants. He said, I’ll make you lay down in green pastures and now restore your soul. When he says restoring your soul, he says sometimes you’re just so emotionally distraught that you need somebody to help you in your emotions. Guess what? God says, I’ll do that.
James Greer (29:47):
He goes on to say, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He said, I’ll fear no evil. Some of you all came in with some fears to and God said, would you let me calm your fear? He said, I’m with you. I’m your rod and are your staff and I will comfort you. Some of you just need comforting. Some of you going through that valley. Don’t go through it alone. Would you stand? Let me pray with you and pray for you.
James Greer (30:39):
God, you sure are an awesome, God. I thank you for what you’re doing in our church. I thank you how you’re working in so many lives. God, I pray that you would comfort them and their families. God, I am so sorry that they’re hurting and going through that. The God you see something that we do not see. God, what a great example that they are. We see your glory. We see it through our people. We pray, we never take it for granted. God, for those that are here today that are hurting, I pray you comfort them. God, I pray for those that you’re not their shepherd today that you would be their shepherd. I pray that those, if there is any, that ever thought about taking their life. They would not do that. God. Instead, they would give their life to you. I pray that those that need to be have somebody to pray with them or pray for them. They would do that. Now. Maybe if there’s somebody that might need to join the church, follow through in baptism, maybe to be comforted, whatever it is, you called them to do today. God, I pray today would be the day that they allow you to be their shepherd. It’s in Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.