more food for thought

February 24, 2017

Image result for picture of devil's food cake


It is often only through pain that we can see all the pieces of the puzzle, that we have the big picture of what life is all about laid out so clearly in front of us, that we can finally understand. But pain does not automatically do this: our response to pain does—and even then, not immediately. Atheists and saints are both often ‘born’ in the aftermath of a tragedy.

When we ask, “How could God let this happen?”, we are on to something. What we do and feel next is of utmost importance. Some people decide that it is blasphemous even to raise such a question in the first place, that to ask ‘Why?’ is itself sinful. I do not share that sentiment, for this reason: it is neither human nor biblical. The books of Job and the Psalms ask this question at least sixty times—almost regardless of which translation one reads—and a very large portion of these questions are on the lips of godly men as they wonder about God’s ways. It is no sin to ask why. Indeed, I think it may well be wrong not to ask that question! When your suffering, be sure that some friends will try to console you with this kind of  “how can you ask God why “attitude”. They comfort by quoting precious verses—especially Romans 8:28(“All things work together for good for those who love God…”)—and then they walked away. Scripture became for them a way to deny the grief, to deny the pain. They loved us at an arm’s distance.

To be sure, in the midst of suffering the human soul cries out for answers. But it cries out for more than that. It cries out for comfort, for love, for someone to share the burden of grief.

All of this is not to say there are no answers. But the answer that we seek is too often elusive; we never really know in this life— we cannot possibly know in this life—the details of the answer to our question. Now, to be sure, we sometimes do get a partial answer to the ‘Why?’

“How could God let this happen?” two things are presupposed about God: he is good and he is sovereign. And therein lies the crux of the problem. If we think about it a little while, we might even articulate it this way, “If God is good, isn’t he also powerful enough not to have let this happen?” Or, put another way, “If God is in control, isn’t he good enough not to have let this happen?” Either way, the goodness of God or the sovereignty of God seems to be on trial.

Perhaps you can see why atheists are born at a time like this: their image of God is shattered at the paradox of the situation. “God wasn’t there for me” becomes the mantra that leads to atheism or, in the least, to a marginalization of God in one’s thinking. The scary thing is that we are all atheists at heart when we sanitize and shrink-wrap the majesty and grandeur of God into manageable proportions.

So two questions; 1. How big is your God and 2. How much do you trust Him when everything is going wrong?

God bless from


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