Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ask the Preacher

It's interesting: When people in church want the answer to some Biblical question, they often say, "Let's ask the preacher." And that's cool. I like it when people have such confidence in me.

But you know what? There are many theological issues that I don't have the answer for. And one of them is the issue of pain and suffering. Why do good people get sick and die young? Why do some families seem to be hit like Job -- by one thing after another? I know what I believe, but it probably isn't a very satisfying answer.

RIght now, our family of faith seems to have been swept with a cancer plague. It just breaks my heart. And I am praying every day for these people to be healed. But the question still hangs there. Why? I like what C. S. Lewis said when asked why Christians suffer. He said, "Because they are the only ones who can take it." But that still doesn't answer the question.

Well, there is a lot I don't know. But I do believe that all of us -- good and bad -- are victims of the Fall. When Adam and Eve sinned, they opened a Pandora's Box of death, suffering and pain. They let Satan loose to inflict upon us all kinds of bad stuff. And our gracious Father immediately set another plan into action. It is a plan to return us to Himself eternally. Oh, the short-term stuff still burdens us. But maybe that's good -- because it reminds us that there is a better place awaiting us. A place we can call "Home." A place where we will be forever with the Father. A place where we will see His face (Revelation 22: 4). And when we are there, we are all going to nod our heads and say, "Oh, now I understand."


Jeff said...

What a challenging question. Why do we have to suffer or see the people we love suffer? I, like you, know what I believe but can't come up with any way to say it that would make people feel better.
My mom reminded me of this story about me. When I was 5, my mom's mother passed away. At the funeral, my mom was crying and at some point I asked her, "why are you crying if granny is going to Heaven." The question still doesn't stop the pain of the loss we suffer but hopefully it will remind us of the joy for the one who is going home to God.

Amy C said...

Well said, preach on, amen. If it weren't for the pain why would we long for a better place? Even a strong fortress, a strong tower while still on this earth so that we can be in heaven some day. I love your blogs.

Josh Ross said...

Thank you for calling pain and suffering what it is. I can't stand the self-proclaimed prophets today who say that every bad thing that happens to us is an act of punishment from God. The call for the community of faith (the church) is to learn to enter into the sufferings of people.

Liz Moore said...

I agree, I think our suffering does remind us that this is not our home. Satan wants us to get so comfortable here that we forget there is something waiting for us so awesome and wonderful that we can't even imagine it. I don't understand pain and suffering either. But if every time we have pain and suffering, we use that time to draw even closer to God, then the pain and suffering will be joined and maybe even surpassed by the peace, comfort and love that only God can give us. If God is for us, who can be against us.