Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Belief and Suffering

Skeptics often frame their disagreement with Christianity by saying something to the effect of: "How can God be loving and yet allow suffering" (or some variation thereof).

For more than 30 years I have been using the Our Daily Bread devotional booklets from Radio Bible Class. They have been uniformly good, and I have had little to quibble with their content during this long period of time. They are the first thing that I read in the morning, followed by my daily readings in the ESV Daily Reading Bible.

Following the daily reading for today there was a small section entitled Ten Reasons To Believe in a God Who Allows Suffering. This excellent material is also available online, and provides a Biblically balanced view as to why God allows us to experience pain and suffering.

This is the one that resonated most with me:

If death is the end of everything, then a life filled with suffering isn't fair. But if the end of this life brings us to the threshold of eternity, then the most fortunate people in the universe are those who discover, through suffering, that this life is not all we have to live for. Those who find themselves and their eternal God through suffering have not wasted their pain. They have let their poverty, grief, and hunger drive them to the Lord of eternity. They are the ones who will discover to their own unending joy why Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:1-12; Romans 8:18-19).

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