Living Our Faith

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice -- the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him." Romans 12:1

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Big Question #3: Why do we suffer?

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Our Scripture reading for this Sunday is Psalm 22:1-11.



Why do we suffer?

Before we even begin to answer that question we have to acknowledge that people asking this question, ourselves included, ask this question often out of deep pain and suffering that can just feel so senseless.

How could a good and loving God allow such suffering?

My grandmother was such a lovely lady, such a strong believer in her Lord, Jesus Christ, ... why did she have to suffer for so many years until her death? She deserved better.

How can a loving God watch as children die, wars break out, injustice is tolerated, and people are valued based on the money in their bank accounts, the colour of their skin, or how well they did in school? How can a loving God watch as people are treated as less-than-human because they are deemed "different"?

These are big questions, and there are so many more. Before we even attempt to answer why God allows such suffering we have to acknowledge that. We have to acknowledge people's pain, their suffering, their cries for help. Any answer about why God allows suffering doesn't take away from the fact that suffering is real and in need of a pastoral response. Sometimes we might quote Romans 8:28 when the person really just needs someone to cry with them, to listen to them, to be with them so that they might know and experience the love of God in their suffering. 

On Sunday, as we look at this question, there are many ways that we could talk about suffering and why a good and loving God can allow suffering. But, for the purpose of time and clarity we will have to focus on one way to answer that question. It's popular, even among some Christians, to say that God isn't behind evil, that God had nothing to do with it. And we are going to look at why saying that is such bad news. (Now this doesn't mean that God is the cause of evil -- He is not). Rather, we will look at why there is good news in affirming that God not only allows evil, but even ordains it.

The only way we can come to a satisfying answer about why God allows suffering, we will find, is when we affirm God's sovereignty and his "big-ness" and our limitations.

It's not an easy answer to come to. We will still have questions. But, I pray, also a much bigger understanding of who God is and His amazing love for us.


In preparation for Sunday I invite you to read (or look at):

Genesis 37-50, Job, Habakkuk, Psalm 6, 7, 10, 12, 13, 22, 23, ... (Psalms that deal with suffering, and there are many more), 2 Corinthians 11:11-33, Philippians 3:1-4:1.

Also, you can click on this link to go to the search results for "suffering" on the Gospel Coalition website to see some answers to the question of why we experience suffering.

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  • Guest
    Margaret Thompson Saturday, 04 June 2016

    I think not only of Oma, but also of your Dad. his back trouble for many years allowed him to be home when you and Adrian got home from school. You have an incredible relationship with him as a result.
    I also think of your dreams to be an engineer and later a teacher and how all that changed with your double eye infection which resulted in you becoming legally blind. Our church pulled together (as well as family and friends all over the world) praying for a miracle of restoration of your sight. It seems God allowed the infection to happen to let you know the purpose he had for your life. I love you SO much! mom

  • Guest
    Margaret Thompson Saturday, 04 June 2016

    Oma, through all of her illnesses: blood infection, hip replacement, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, open ulcers on her legs.....still lived to give and give and to eat blessing to others,s never expecting anything in return. This continued until she got dimentia when she could no longer remember how to bake and be a servant to others. She found it so difficult to let others help her out. We all wanted the blessing of returning a small portion of the blessings she had given to us. Because of her life. Of selfless giving, we knewGod was calling her home: well done, good and faithful servant

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