Summary: A short talk for our Older Folks Service to deal with the requested topic of suffering.
¡§Why does God allow suffering?¡¨
WBC Silver Service (older folks). 3 Feb 2005
This talk is a ¡¥request¡¦. What a request!
- but a good and right one as this is, to me, THE issue of life
o precipitated by the Tsunami
The first thing I want to say is that we should not be surprised by these things! They are nothing new!
- they may be to today¡¦s ¡¥young
- but not to anyone with experience! Age!
Folks today have never had it so good!
- have forgotten the realities of life
- have forgotten the Biblical stories of ¡¥the Fall¡¦
These stories tell that the world is far from what God wants¡Khow He intended it to be
- first, the Angelic realm rebelled against God.
- Enticed humans, Adam & Eve, to do the same
o Have been doing the same ever since!
o Accusing God: ¡§why do you let these things happen?!¡¨
„X Illustr: like the speeding drunkard who kills his passenger and asks ¡¥why do you allow it, God?¡¨
Truth is: 90% of suffering can be traced back to ¡§people¡¨
The story of the Bible is that these ¡¥falls¡¦ have affected the very fabric of our world and lives
- and it doesn¡¦t affect just ¡¥the drunk driver¡¦
o he sometimes hits an innocent pedestrian!
It¡¦s like pollution: it affects us all
Okay- so man is responsible for most of it- but why doesn¡¦t God stop it?
We know He could! That¡¦s what makes it so difficult!
We know He wants to
- we feel it inside us. ¡§This isn¡¦t right!¡¨
o where does that come from? From God Himself and being made in His image
- we know He wants to, as well, as Jesus DID. He intervened wherever it was right
Why doesn¡¦t God stop it? Because He respects our free will
- we want Him to come down and stop murderers¡Kexploiters
- .. rapists. Yes please!
But where does He stop?
- cheats? Liars? Those who hate? Those who are selfish? Unjust?
- Those who commit the biggest sin: neglect Him?!
¡K. None of us are left!
Besides we would be the first to complain ¡§Oi! I thought you gave us free will!¡¨
No- God will not force Himself on anyone
- if people don¡¦t want Him, they don¡¦t have to have Him. Even in the life after this
No. God honours our¡Kyour free will.
And God KNEW that in making creatures with free will it meant they could choose to reject Him¡Khurt others.. ruin the fabric of the world
- but He was willing to do it for one reason¡K..
¡K. He was willing to pay the price for this kind of world¡K. and our sins, Himself
God was willing to pay the price for a fallen world Himself.
And more- He was willing to FEEL it¡¦s fallenness Himself
- no ¡¥Ivory tower¡¦ for the Christian God
We believe that God came and took the worst pain the world could offer. Suffered it. Suffered with us.
Now- this does not give a watertight answer to it all. Nothing does!
- but I know WHY I am a Christian¡K
- and I could never follow any God other than the Christian one¡K and no God but Jesus Christ.
Listen to this imaginary story, called:
The Long Silence
At the end of time, billions of people were scattered on a great plain
before God’s throne. Most shrank back from the brilliant light before
them. But some groups near the throne talked heatedly. Not with crying
shame, but with belligerence.
"Can God judge us? What can he know about suffering" snapped a pert
young brunette. She ripped open her sleeve to reveal a tattooed number
from a Nazi concentration camp. " We endured terror......beatings....
In another group a Negro boy lowered his collar. "What about this?" he
demanded, showing an ugly rope burn. "Lynched for no crime but being
In another crowd, a pregnant schoolgirl with sullen eyes." Why should
I suffer?" she murmured. "It wasn’t my fault." Far across the plain
were hundreds of such groups. Each had a complaint against God for the
suffering and evil he had permitted in his world.
How lucky God was to live in heaven where all was sweetness and light;
where there was no weeping or fear, or hunger or hatred. What did God
know of all that man had been forced to endure in this world?" For God
leads a pretty sheltered life", they said.
So each of these groups sent forth their leader, chosen because he had
suffered the most. A Jew, a Negro, a person from Hiroshima, a horribly
deformed arthritic, a thalidomide child. At last they were ready to
present their case. It was rather clever.