I’m pleased to introduce a guest blogger today. Dennis Fast has been a senior pastor for 35 years and is now working in several part time ministries in central California. He recently wrote this devotional for his church congregation. He graciously granted permission for me to share it with you. I found it helpful in giving perspective to the question of suffering in the world. Thank you, Dennis!
“In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
A few years ago Lee Strobel, author of A Case for Christ, commissioned a national survey and asked people what question they would ask if they could ask God one thing. The number one response was, “Why is there suffering in the world.”
I’m thinking of that today as it feels like the state of California is on fire. That’s an overstatement, of course, but the devastation and loss from south to north is incredible. One report called the fire in Napa and Senora counties a “once in a life time” fire. And this on the heels of last week’s tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas, preceded by unprecedented hurricanes in The Gulf, sandwiched between earthquakes in Mexico.
Strobel said in a printed sermon, “That “why” question is not a new one; it goes back thousands of years. It was asked in the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th Century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields of Cambodia, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. And the 21st Century didn’t start any better. There was 9/11, the Syrian slaughters, and on and on. Why do all of these horrific things happen if there’s a loving and powerful God? Why do bad things happen to good people?
If you would like to read the full article/sermon by Lee Strobel go here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2012/july-online-only/doesgodallowtragedy.html? But let me give you the five “points of light” that he shares in the article for your encouragement today:
The first point of light: God is not the creator of evil and suffering.
The second point of light: Though suffering isn’t good, God can use it to accomplish good.
The third point of light: The day is coming when suffering will cease and God will judge evil.
The fourth point of light: Our suffering will pale in comparison to the good things God has in store for his followers.
The fifth point of light: We decide whether to turn bitter or turn to God for peace and courage.
We will never fully answer the question of “why” on this side of eternity. But my prayer is that you will find some encouragement and hope today in the truth about God in his Word. And I also pray that you can be a witness to the grace of God as you face the difficulties that God allows in your life. When we face hardships, our hope is a powerful witness to the goodness of God and can draw others to discover the peace we have – the peace that so many long to experience. It is easy to ask, “Why didn’t God create a perfect world?” The answer is that he did, but that perfect creation has been marred over and over by the sins of choice that humans make each day. Today, choose hope, choose joy, choose grace: choose Christ!
|Carol Loewen||Oct 11 (3 days ago)|