Romans 249: Romans 8 - Why is it So Hard to Watch Those We Love Suffer?

ROM-160-160117 - length: 59:03 - taught on Jan, 17 2016

Class Outline:

Welcome To


a Christian Church

Rory Clark



Good Morning!


Welcome to Barah Ministries…a Christian Church with a worldwide reach and an intimate impact on lives, through the provisions of our omnipotent God, the Lord Jesus Christ.  One of His many provisions is the blessing of the internet, so that anyone with access can be reached with His Word.  We’re based in Mesa, AZ…my name is Pastor Rory Clark.



Why is it So Hard to Watch Those We Love Suffer?


Today’s lesson asks the question, “Why is it so hard to watch those we love suffer?  Let’s begin with a few announcements…





Joel and Deanna Perkosky

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Why is it So Hard to Watch Those We Love Suffer?


Many real life examples come quickly to mind. 


What is it like for a son to watch his mother experience the final days of her life in hospice care?  What is it like for a daughter to watch her mother refuse to eat?  What is it like for a wife to watch a husband wish for a heart to transplant?  What is it like for new parents who are having their first baby?  What is it like for a mother to see her son without the money to pay his rent?  What is like to witness the plight of a teen-ager who is the single parent of two children?  What is it like to have a spouse die unexpectedly?  What is it like for a parent who has a child kidnapped or murdered?  What is it like to lose your job, especially right after you have signed a contract on a new house? What is it like to know that your best friend and his wife are infertile when they desperately want to have children?  What is it like to watch someone you love lose the ability to walk, or to talk, or to feed themselves?  What is it like to see someone who wants something badly, but is in a state of poverty?  What is it like to see someone you love suffer an injustice like racism, or sexism or molestation?  What is it like to see a loved one impacted by natural disasters?  What’s it like to see a friend involved in a nasty automobile accident, and to have her best friend die while she lives?


It’s hard.


These are just a few of the many ways we watch those whom we love suffer. 

From our own perspective it is horrible we suffer…it’s painful…it’s awful…and it’s sad.  But when we see those we love suffer, it’s even worse.  We want desperately to intervene.  Often our intervening is simply interference.  From God’s perspective, suffering is something He clearly allows His creatures to experience. 


God wants us to know the depth of our allegiance to Him.  God wants us to know the depth of our faith in Him.  Watching someone we love suffer, especially when no visible and immediate relief from God is forthcoming, gives us a clear idea of how much we need to count on God.


What is God’s viewpoint about the value of suffering?  Welcome to a place where you can find out, through the study of the Lord Jesus Christ and His inerrant Word.



Be Occupied with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ

Enjoy the Singing of His Praises



June Murphy 


As we prepare our souls for worship, let’s enjoy the opening song…COUNT IT ALL JOY, sung by June Murphy.



Let us pray...


We’re grateful, Heavenly Father, for the privilege of studying Your absolute truth...the Word of God…


Father…thank you for drying the tears pouring forth from our troubled hearts today.  The sorrow that rips our souls has driven us to You, as our Protector and our True Friend in time of need…thank you for loving us unconditionally in spite of our failings, our faults and our sins…thanks for strengthening us when we are weak…


Keep on leading us to the holy life You planned for us in eternity past… warm our hearts with Your countenance…help us to see Your grace in the midst of our suffering…if it is Your will, lighten our burdens…yet not our will, but Yours be done…strengthen us to endure while we are resting in  Your all powerful hand…


We ask this through the power of God the Holy Spirit in Christ’s name... Amen.



Why is it So Hard to Watch Those We Love Suffer?


From a human perspective it is horrible.  What is it like when God watches His creatures suffer?  After all, He sees some of the most horrid suffering imaginable, every day, in every corner of the globe.  God thinks provision in the midst of our suffering.  Isaiah, Chapter 41, Verse 10…


ISA 41:10

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’


God wants us to know the depth of our allegiance to Him.  God wants us to know the depth of our faith in Him.  Watching someone we love suffer, especially when no visible and immediate relief from God is forthcoming, gives us a clear idea of how much we need to count on God.


We have been looking at the subject of suffering as we study the first verse of the third passage in Romans, Chapter 8…a passage that extends from Verses 18 to 25…let’s look at the passage and listen to it together, as we let the Word of God speak to our souls…


ROM 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (RIGHT NOW) are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed IN us (IN THE FUTURE).


ROM 8:19

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.


ROM 8:20

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope…


ROM 8:21

…that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.


ROM 8:22

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.


ROM 8:23

And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.


ROM 8:24

For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?


ROM 8:25

But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.


Our focus is on Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 18…


ROM 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (RIGHT NOW) are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed IN us (IN THE FUTURE).


Notice the dichotomy.  In our lives, we are always facing dichotomy…we are constantly in situations where…



Two completely opposed and totally contradictory viewpoints are offered for consideration at the point of decision.


The Dichotomy in this verse involves SUFFERING and GLORY.  There are other dichotomies we have considered in the first few lessons of our study of this passage…




Suffering of Physical Death versus The Joy of the Resurrection Life

          Suffering as Pain versus Suffering as Joy

Suffering as Undeserved versus Suffering as Necessary

Suffering Ourselves versus Watching the Suffering of Others


Why is it so hard to watch those we love suffer?


It’s hard to watch those we love suffer because we don’t want to believe that suffering is a valuable part of our daily experience.


There is no course in school that teaches us how to deal with suffering.  First Peter, Chapter 4, Verses 12 to 14 say…


1PE 4:12

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you…


1PE 4:13

…but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.


1PE 4:14

If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God the Father rests on you.


How many times have you said, even if only to yourself, “My loved one shouldn’t have to suffer.”  Yet God wants them to.  Those who have not suffered do not have texture…for example, they cannot sympathize or empathize with those who are suffering.


Why is it so hard to watch those we love suffer?


It’s hard to watch those we love suffer because we don’t want to believe that suffering causes growth.


Suffering in the spiritual life is the equivalent of exercise for the body.  Physical exercise tears down muscles so they can be built up at rest.  Suffering tears down self-sufficiency so we can learn to count on God.

James, Chapter 1, Verses 2 to 4…


JAM 1:2

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…


JAM 1:3

…knowing that the testing of your faith (through suffering) produces endurance.


JAM 1:4

And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.


Suffering makes us able to handle anything…and God knows it.


“Some of us will not see pain as a gift…some will accuse God of being unfair for allowing it…but, the fact is, pain and suffering are here among us, and we need to learn how to respond to it.”


Why is it so hard to watch those we love suffer?


It’s hard to watch those we love suffer because our wires are crossed about suffering.


A Monty Python sketch called “Happy Valley” gives us perspective on our “crossed wires” attitude toward suffering…



Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a valley far, far away, in the mountains, existed the most contented kingdom the world has ever known. It was called “Happy Valley,” and it was ruled over by wise old King Otto. All his subjects flourished and were happy, and there were no discontents or grumblers, because wise King Otto had discontents and grumblers put to death, along with the trade union leaders…many years before. All the happy folk of Happy Valley sang and danced all day long, and anyone who for any reason, was miserable, was unhappy or had any difficult personal problems, was prosecuted under The Happiness Act.


We now eavesdrop on a courtroom trial in Happy Valley…with Mr. Caspar Schlitz on the witness stand…



“Caspar Schlitz, I put it to you that on February 5th this year you were very depressed, with malice aforethought, and did moan quietly, contrary to the Cheerful Noises Act.”



“I did.”



“Objection!  May I explain, m’lord, that the reason for my client’s behavior was that his wife had just died that morning?”



“Members of the jury, have you reached your verdict?”






Caspar Schlitz…I hereby sentence you to be hanged by the neck until you cheer up.


We think the same way.  We think our life is going well when we aren’t suffering.  We think our life is gong poorly when we are suffering.  Kahlil Gibran says…

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

― Kahlil Gibran


I agree.  Let’s take a music break.




Colton Dixon



Why is it So Hard to Watch Those We Love Suffer?


We don’t like watching those we love suffer…yet…


Even though suffering hurts our loved ones, eventually the hurt heals.


Second Corinthians, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 18…


2CO 4:16

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.


2CO 4:17

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…


2CO 4:18

…while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.


But for us, what are the feelings that go with watching those we love suffer?


We feel grief…sorrow…powerlessness…helplessness…resignation…out of control…loss…pain.  Seldom do we feel what we need to feel…acceptance.


Do you let your loved one’s suffering unravel your faith in God?  Many people ask, “Where is God when it hurts?”  This question has probably created more atheists than any other question!  The lie…


“If God were good, He would make His creatures perfectly happy, and if He were almighty He would be able to do what He wished. But creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.”


To which Dr. Spock says, “That’s illogical!”


We have no right either to expect or to demand a suffering-free state of false bliss that would leave each of us as bored to death.  A great quote from British novelist and poet Thomas Hardy…


“Happiness was but the occasional episode in a general drama of suffering.”

Thomas Hardy

The Mayor of Casterbridge


We don’t like watching those we love suffer…yet…


God gives our loved ones suffering because suffering produces endurance


So we are to press on in the face of tribulation…Hebrews, Chapter 10, Verse 36…


HEB 10:36

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.


Romans, Chapter 12, Verse 1…


ROM 12:1

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of Old Testament witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race of our lives that is set before us…


Our loved ones will overcome…Luke, Chapter 21, Verse 19…


LUK 21:19

By your endurance you will gain your lives.


Watching loved ones suffer is painful


Quite often, in fact most often, we are concerned with our own suffering.  Psalm 140, Verses 1 to 3…


PSA 140:1

Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men…


PSA 140:2

…who devise evil things in their hearts; they continually stir up wars.


PSA 140:3

They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; poison of a viper is under their lips.


Watching the suffering of loved ones is harder.  In Romans, Chapter 9, Verses 1 to 5, the apostle Paul feel compassion for his fellow Jews…


ROM 9:1

I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit…


ROM 9:2

…that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.


ROM 9:3

For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh…


ROM 9:4

…who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises…


ROM 9:5

…whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, the God who is over all…the God blessed forever. Amen.


An article in a magazine called Psychology Today claims that we love to see others suffer.  I don’t think so.  Sure maybe it’s fun to think, when revenge is our motive, that we’d love to see the person who has inflicted a real or an imagined slight suffer.  But even if we do get to see them suffer, our feeling of revenge is not satiated…and eventually we start to feel sorry for the ones suffering.


Suffering is not something to be tolerated…it is something to be embraced.  Here’s a quote from a world renowned Pastor…


There is no need to obsess about what the end of suffering will be like… there is no need to be happy that suffering has ended…another thing to suffer for will be here soon to take its place.

          Pastor Rory Clark


Prayer is the answer when our loved ones are suffering.  God answers every prayer…not in the way we think…not in our timing…but He answers every prayer with the perfect answer.


If your mentality is right, watching loved ones suffer is joyful.


If you have the idea that part of your purpose is to change the suffering of others, you will suffer.


“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Crime and Punishment


Let’s not feel bad when we see the people we love suffer…God knows what they need.  Help them when you can…but whatever you do, don’t take their suffering away.  If you asked God the Father, “Why the suffering?” … He would just point to the Cross.  In God’s plan, suffering always has a perfect result.


When the Lord Jesus Christ

Promises Salvation, It’s a Guarantee!


ACT 16:31

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and everyone in your household who also believes.”


ACT 4:12

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given to mankind by which we must be saved (except the name of the Lord Jesus Christ).”


LUK 19:10

“For the Son of Man (the Lord Jesus Christ) has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”




June Murphy



Let us pray...




And we pray that You protect our steps as we go out into the world, Father…and that you keep us on the narrow way, completely dependent on You and Your Guiding, Mentoring Spirit…we ask this in Christ’s name, Amen.


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Thanks for listening!

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