HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE IN A GOD THAT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO SUFFER?
Many times this is not theoretical by the person asking. You may discover or already know that they have been deeply scarred by the events of life. Perhaps they have lost a loved one or prematurely lost a child, just something that has devastated them. They are dealing with problems internally and thus we need the sensitivity and wisdom of the Spirit of God to handle this question well.
We should be upfront and honest and ask if there is something in their life that prompts them to ask this question. It is probably because they have had a tragedy and if they are willing to confide in you that truth then it is important that we are transparent and say that we may not have an answer for that particular pain in their life. We could search the entire Bible and never find an answer to that particular question.
Scripture does provide some clues as to why God allows suffering as a whole. God made man and he was good. God also made man with the propensity to turn his back on Him. Man did just that, so what was good became bad. God decided to redeem the situation and sent His son, so that what was bad might become good again. And eventually, God plans that in Heaven man will be absolutely perfect.
Your son or daughter may say that makes limited sense, but I still think of God as distant in the heavens and untouched by the problems we face. At this point, we must share with them about Calvary. We must explain that God sent His son Jesus and that the cry from the cross was “My God, my God why have you forsaken me.” It was a cry of reality. God had only one son who was without sin but was not without suffering. We can assure them that God is not caught off guard by their suffering. Nor is He unable to address it. We must face the fact of evil and suffering. And we need to look to the Scripture to what it says on how to embrace the solution.
We cannot speak to our children about suffering, without talking through the grid of Calvary.
- At the cross we see the magnitude of God’s love for us.
- At the cross we see the magnitude of our sin.
- At the cross we see the tremendous possibility of healing and forgiveness.
A God who endured suffering through the person of Christ is well able to enter into any suffering that we may experience. Any attempt to philosophize about the pain that by passes the cross will never be redemptive in someone’s life.
So when your children ask about suffering, we may want to recommend C.S. Lewis’s book, The Problem of Pain. Suffering is a reality in all of our lives and only through that suffering can we enter deeper into the revelation of Jesus and the total dependence on Him in our lives.
Next week we will answer the question: Isn’t it true that science has disproved creation and miracles and that Christianity is now obsolete?
Source: Alistair Begg
Source: Alister Begg www.truthforlife.org
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