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[Joy Worth Sharing] Joy In Suffering

(You can hear the recording of the talk here)

Joy Worth Sharing

Joy In Suffering

In the lead up to Joyfest, we’re spending three weeks thinking about the joy we find in God that is worth sharing with others.

Dave started today talking about people we may know who aren’t Christians, but who we feel perhaps don’t seem like they need God.

  • Do you know people like this?  What is it that makes people like this?
  • It’s often easy to think that people need God when there is an obvious need that God can help with… but what when there’s no need?



Dave talked about what it means to have a successful life, a joy-filled life. For the world there is a spectrum that goes:

SUFFERING <–––––––––––> JOY

To find joy we need to remove suffering, so the way to get joy is to make sure you have comfort and security. So the point of life is about obtaining comfort and security.

  • Do you see this idea at play in the society around us? Look at (or remember) adverts that play to this theme
  • In your life has comfort and security been a big motivating factor? Have they been presented as the route to success by friends, family members, employers? Or even by your own worldview?
  • How has it played out? Have there been times when life has taken a twist that meant no amount of self-obtained comfort or security has protected you from suffering?
  • Dave said life is unpredictable, uncontrollable and unkind. Do you think this is true? Why is this a problem for how the world says we find a joy-filled life?



The Bible says we find joy in a way different from the world. While the world says we need circumstances of comfort and security, the Bible says we find joy in the way we understand the what’s going on in our life.

Dave looked at some verses in the book of Philippians, especially chapter 2, verses 16-18.

Paul found joy in the most surprising of places.  This morning Dave picked out two ways we find Joy – in Providence and in Purpose.

Paul saw providence in his life – he understood his life as being part of a bigger story where God is good, powerful, on his side and going to write a happy ending. In his view, even death was smaller than God’s goodness.

  • Have you seen God’s providence in your life? In situations that were tough and painful, but looking back you see that God was doing something in the midst of the suffering?
  • Have you met people who experience awful things yet remain thankful and positive? Have you met people who experience similar sorts of hard times and yet they become angry, bitter and resentful? What do you think makes the difference? What sort of person are you?
  • How can we help ourselves learn to trust in God’s providence? What steps can we take or what practices can we start to help us learn?


Paul saw his life as having so much purpose that it was even worth dying for.  In Hebrews 12:2 we see that Jesus went to the cross knowing his purpose would bring him joy.

  • We understand the concept of ‘no-pain-no-gain’, that is, suffering to achieve soothing worthwhile.  Is this the same sort of thing? Or is there a difference when we find our purpose in God?
  • Do you feel like you have a purpose beyond achieving comfort and security? What is it? If you don’t, what sort of area do you think you might (or might like to) find purpose in? What do you think God might have made you to do?
  • Paul was prepared to give his life for the purpose God had given him. What discomfort do you experience for your faith? What about in the past?
  • Do you ever avoid discomfort or insecurity? Do you think you might be missing out on something that God might have for you?


Look at some of these Bible verses. How do they help us understand God’s providence and his or our purpose?

Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:18Romans 8:28Matthew 6:24-34Proverbs 3:6, Psalm 139, Psalm 42Jeremiah 29:11-13



Dave suggested that God doesn’t cause suffering, but he uses suffering to help us grow. One of the things suffering can do is expose the world’s lies about comfort and security. Have you ever suffered but been surprised by the joy you’ve experienced in the midst of the suffering?

You could look at James 1:2-4, Romans 5:1-51 Peter 4:12-16

Think about the idea that God doesn’t cause suffering but he uses it? Do you think this is true (and if so, generally or always true?)? How do we interpret this into real life situations?






Posted on 30th April 2018
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