Perhaps you’ve asked one of the following questions of God; they are certainly questions that most Christians struggle with at some point . . .
- If God is all-good and all-powerful, why wouldn’t God have aided (fill in the blank) situation?
- Why is God allowing ___________ to suffer? Why doesn’t God take away his/her pain?
- How could God create a world like this where the innocent starve, babies die, precious girls or boys are raped, and families send their loved ones off to war?
There are four logical options:
- There is no suffering and there is no God.
- There is no suffering, and there is a God.
- There is suffering, and there is no God.
- There is suffering, and there is a God.
I believe most of us land between options #3 or #4.
In fact, it is because of the suffering in this world and a gross misunderstanding of God that many people conclude option #3 – there IS suffering but there is NO God!
How could there be if the world is this messed up!?!?!
William Temple shares, “If you have a false idea of God, the more religious you are, the worse it is for you – it were better for you to be an atheist.”
This is why, even though I would not consider myself a theologian in ANY right, I am a theology snob.
If theology (the study of the nature of God) is BAD theology, it simply will not hold us through the trials that come in life. And they WILL come –
Jesus said so in the Gospel of John, 33 I’ve said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress.”
If he were texting this to us today it would read like this,
“In. the. World. You. WILL. Have. Distress.” (note the periods for emphasis)
We are GOING to have difficulties, trials, periods of absolute darkness in which we are going to NEED to cry out to God – “NO!”
This is also why it is so important for us to understand the nature of God and the relationship between God and suffering.
There CAN be suffering and still a Divine Presence/Energy/Love that exists in this universe that is INFINITELY bigger than we are. We just have to understand that God didn’t cause the suffering; it is a result of our existence in this world.
We will continue to look at this through the next few days devotions, but for now – hold and ponder your thoughts about “God causing things to happen” or “this being a part of God’s plan.”
If we believe that suffering is “from God” – then we are saying, “God made that man rape that little boy.” Or . . . “God is choosing which children in Africa die of Aids.”
We don’t believe those harsh things . . . so therefore, we cannot attribute other dark places in our journey “to God.”
It is complicated and a difficult subject to discuss, especially in emails. For now, know that God is big enough to handle our “NOs!” and our rage.