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Sickness and Suffering, How Should Christians Respond? | Season 2 Episode 9

This is one of those episodes of that I really didn’t want to record. On the other hand I sensed God’s sovereign timing and I knew how vital it is for Christians to have a proper perspective on suffering and pain.

In this episode of “Now Is the Time” I share with you some questions on sickness and suffering, I also share with you an interview with pastor Gary DeSalvo, who is currently battling a rare form of cancer and the prognosis is grim.

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I just created a new Facebook page for the Now Is the Time podcast and I invite you to join the conversation there. I’ll be posting new episodes and also asking for your input on future episodes. It’s a great way to stay connected to the podcast.

A Pastor Battling Cancer

What got me thinking about this topic recently was our church leadership conference this fall. One of our main speakers was Pastor Gary DeSalvo from Temple Bible Church. I had a chance to sit down with him and talk with his about his experience with cancer and how that changed his perspective on life. I was hoping to share that video right away but I also wanted to make sure there were Russian subtitles, so it took me a little while to get that all done. In the meantime our churches here in Odessa experienced the tragic loss of one young pastor, one deacon, and a mother along with her 5 children!

It’s hard to ignore those searing loses in our hearts, the suffering and pain is real. How we respond to it often shows us where our faith is grounded and what our theology looks like on a visceral level.

As part of this podcast episode I’m including the interview I did with Pastor Gary, you can watch just the interview below, or listen to it in the context of the episode in the player above.

Here’s a great quote Pastor Gary shared with me:

“Lord if it brings your glory heal me now, if it brings you greater glory heal me later, if it brings you the greatest glory heal me in glory.” -Ole Hallesby

Why do Christians get sick and suffer?

As part of my research for this episode I asked you to help me answer a few questions. 86 of you responded with many great questions, helpful advice, and examples of how God used suffering in their life.

I want to let you know I read through every question and every piece of advice. It was very touching to learn how God has used suffering for such great good in the lives of so many!

Check out the chart below for a summary of how people answer the main question of why Christians suffer. Hover over sections of the pie-chart to see the response that it represents.

Listener Questions

I did receive a lot of responses so I apologize if your exact question is not listed below. I have condensed some of the questions below. In the podcast I discuss each of these questions.

  1. If I choose drug to relieve my pain, does that mean I lack of faith?
  2. Is it wrong to choose death if we know the sickness is incurable?
  3. How do you respond to a brother/sister in Christ who have suffered for long periods of time and just want to end their life?
  4. Why do children have to suffer?
  5. Do people who suffer their whole life but haven’t been told about Jesus still go to hell?
  6. Sometimes my inner heart cry is, Lord, how long?
  7. How can Christians walk through life’s sickness & sufferings and look differently than the world does?
  8. Why do some very Godly people have so much sickness and suffering?
  9. How am I supposed to respond to that friend who envies my being able to do things that she can no longer do?
  10. Illnesses were among the curses of the old testament when you would disobey the law……but when Jesus came,he was to set us free from the law and hence curses so why do people still get generational diseases?
  11. How can Christians suffer in a way that brings God glory?
  12. How can Christians who live a relatively safe and comfortable life mentally and spiritually prepare for real sickness or suffering?

How would you respond to these questions?

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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children! My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • Excellent and thorough podcast! (you almost tempt me to get a facebook page so I can take part in discussions, but I still refuse to get one)

    This is such a big topic, you did a great job of hitting the highlights. I look forward to any future posts on this topic as it touches so many lives.
    I really liked the last question and your response!
    I also really liked what you said about generational curses. I would love it if you’d expound on that related to healing. I sometimes here Christians say that we ARE healed and if we don’t see our healing manifested it’s because we lack faith.

    Thanks for all your hard work. God bless you and your family.

    • Lol, sorry to tempt you like that TC! Anyway glad you can make some comments here too! I agree, the topic of pain and suffering touches everyone, too many false doctrines about how Christians aren’t supposed to experience suffering here on earth. It’s destructive to the faith.

      On the topic of healing, we are going through the entire Bible looking at every instance of healing with the brothers in our church right now. We will finish in a couple of weeks and I’ll probably have more to say on that then.