Saturday, March 19, 2011

Suffering #2

Tony made a insightful comment on the back of the initial post of this series.

Why do we feel that we deserve happiness? Why are we determined it's an entitlement of life?

We want justice in our lives and the lives of others. We are troubled when suffering is disproportional. When some suffer greatly and others do not.

The answer?

Ultimately, there is not a simple a+b=c equation to the problem of human suffering.

God is not silent on the issue, but He neither shows us all the pieces of the puzzle. In part, we are left to wrestle over the nature of God.

Is He fair, just, good and compassionate. If so, how could God let suffering occur.

Commonly, the two explanations for suffering and God's role are...
a) God cares, but is impotent to prevent suffering or
b) God can stop suffering, but doesn't want to.

I want to suggest a third option...
c) God cares deeply for people, but allows us to live in the consequences of our personal decisions and the choices of others.

Sometimes we suffer due to others.

We all have immense power to influence those around us.

When I see a homeless man I have two options. I can either reach into my wallet and give money or clench my fist and punch the poor person in the head. God will honour whichever action I choose to make, even if it is not one that honours Him or what He has made. If I go to strike the bloke in the head, God will not throw up an invisible wall to protect him.

If I choose to hijack a plane and fly it into a building, God will not alter the laws of physics to prevent the disaster. This would throw the world into unpredictable chaos.

If I choose to be mean to those around me and make their lives a misery, that is an freedom that is open before me. God will not force me to live in one particular manner nor super-impose His will over mine.

Sometimes we suffer due to our own actions.

If I smoke for 40 years, then I'm primarily to blame if I get lung cancer.
If I drive over the speed limit and loose control of my car, then the fault is upon my shoulders.
Galatians 6:7 - "... A man reaps what he sows."

But how does this all fit into natural disasters? Find out in the third installment...

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