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Summary: The third in a series of messages on the topic of an invisible "unseen" world that impacts our visible world. This sermon focuses on the bondage of our human bodies to decay and suffering, and that God remains present and active through it all.

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The irony of pain and suffering, or one of the ironies, is that it’s really the shortest route to God. When the bottom drops out and things suddenly, overnight, or in a moment, or in a phone call, go wrong, everybody--believers, unbelievers, agnostics, atheists--everybody, suddenly, there’s a moment in which it’s "Look up." It’s really the shortest route to God. There’s a very famous quote and, possibly, if you’ve grown up or been around Christians for very long, you’ve heard it. It’s by a guy named C. S. Lewis, and here’s what he said. He said, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world." Whispers in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, and shouts in our pain.

And everybody listening to this message, all of us, have had, through pain, God shout at us. Or, that’s what it feels like because, suddenly, no matter what we’re doing, what we believe, suddenly, there’s a sense in which we look up and we ask the question, we ask it in lots of different ways but, essentially, we want to know this. We want to know "Why?" And why we want to know why is because it’s in you and it’s in me to want to make sense out of things. And in knowing why, it won’t make the pain go away, but there’s something about us that if we can begin to connect the little dots in our lives and in our world so that things begin to make sense, there’s a sense in which we feel like we can endure the pain and endure the loss and endure the suffering better or more sanely if, somehow, we can connect these little dots and make sense out of things.

And, so, we look up and then we look down and then we begin to ask why. Why, God? Why me? Why him? She’s so young. Why now? Why them? Why this? Why this way? Not again. Why would you let this happen again? All the different why questions and, essentially, behind the why questions is "You or somebody has got to help me make sense out of this. I’ve got to be able to connect these dots. There has to be a purpose in my pain. You’ve got to help me make sense out of my suffering. I’ve got to see that somehow this is leading to something good."

And so we begin to look around our lives to try to piece things together, and maybe this happened because two years ago, I did this. And maybe this happened because three years ago, and if I had been paying better attention, and if I’d have been a better parent, if I’d have been a better husband, if I’d have been a better wife, if my parents hadn’t. Somehow, I’ve got to somehow connect the dots. Because if I can understand why, if I can make sense out of this, if there’s some bigger picture, if this is going somewhere good, if there’s some greater good, then somehow I might be able to endure it. But if this is just random, if there’s no purpose, if there’s no explanation, then there goes my faith. And yeah, God may shout at me through the pain, but once I glimpse up quickly and glimpse back down and see that this doesn’t make any sense at all, there goes my faith. There goes my confidence in God. There goes my ability to pray. Because in you and in me there’s something that says, even though answering why won’t make the pain any easier or make it go away, somehow I can endure it if somehow there’s a context for this pain.


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