What Can We Tell Our Friends About Suffering?
|Written by Patrick Morley|
|Tuesday, January 11 2005 11:28|
One question men are asking these days is the question of suffering.
In less than three weeks time, tsunami has become a household word, eternally riveted into our brains. It rocks our sensibilities, and raises age-old questions about suffering. We can be certain it does for many people around us too.
What do Christians believe about suffering? What can we tell our family, friends, and co-workers to “disciple” them about suffering?
C. S. Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain, “If God where good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty, He would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore, God lacks either goodness, or power, or both. This is the problem of pain in its simplest form.”
Of the many questions raised by suffering and evil, these four capture most of the heart issues….
Biblical Christians do not use experience to interpret their Bibles. We use our Bibles to interpret our experience. And what we do not understand, we admit. This last point - admitting it - is important, because so much about suffering and evil remains opaque and impenetrable. On the other hand, a lot is knowable. Here’s the elevator speech:
Point: In this world we all will suffer.
Point: We are called to suffer.
Point: There is purpose to suffering.
Point: There is comfort in suffering.
He does know what’s happening, he does care, he can do something about it, and he is.
No elevator speech will ever console as much as sitting quietly and listening to someone pour out their hearts for an hour or two. Sometimes, though, an elevator speech is all you can do. For that reason, it’s good to have one.
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,