Thursday, January 12, 2012
Why We Suffer Part 1
While reading God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question – Why We Suffer by Bart D. Ehrman, I became bombarded with all of his questions that he asked especially at the beginning of the book. I didn’t write them all down, but I did record forty-five of them. I won’t do posts for all of the questions and some of the questions will be added together in one post. So, fear not, we won’t be spending all of 2012 on suffering. Well, at least when it comes to Mr. Ehrman. Please always remember, I love to hear my readers comments whether agreeing with me or not. Much of what I will be writing will be my ideas and answers of how I see God’s role in suffering. I don’t know if they are right or wrong. They are just my way of making suffering easier for me to travel through.
I also want to note that right now in my life my suffering is minuscule. When people, myself included, are in the middle of a tragic time in their life, the natural reaction can be anger, depression, and a rejection of any positive thoughts during any given time in their struggles. Also of important note, I wouldn’t necessarily discuss these ideas with a person in the middle of suffering. Usually, they don’t need an answer to why they have lost a loved one or are experiencing suffering. Instead, they need our empathy, understanding, listening skills, and to validate their suffering. Let’s face it, life is excruciating at times. To deny this fact is wrong. Love those in need.
“If God is all powerful, why does he let his faithful suffer?” page 1. “Why are the sick still wracked with unspeakable pain?” page 5. “Why are babies still born with defects?” page 5. Many questions of this nature riddled the book. These questions have been asked of me by people when we discuss issues of God. Non-believers really struggle with the fact that there is suffering in the world especially when it enters the life of an innocent child. All of us struggle with this. But let’s break all of this down in smaller chunks.
Is God all powerful? I believe he is. All things are possible through God. However, He is a logical God who believes in the natural order of the laws of science. Yes, He could take away the suffering for the faithful. However, He expects us to live good lives following the commandments and the example of Jesus. He would be a hypocrite if He didn’t follow His own laws that He created when He built the universe. Earthquakes will not only hit under sinners homes. He doesn’t have favorites which is why even the faithful suffer. All of us are equally loved by God thus it is only logical that we all suffer. Granted our suffering isn’t equal, but it is there just the same. Viruses will randomly strike all of us. Diseases will not decide first if we are His faithful or not. Thus, all people are exposed to suffering. He never promised us that we wouldn’t suffer. He never promises we will live on Earth forever. We will suffer; we will die.
He is our parent. I know He wants to take away our pain. All parents want to take away their children’s pain. We learn from pain, we become stronger after we have suffered. Though I want to take away my daughter’s struggle with homework which she suffers through, I would be doing an injustice to her. She wouldn’t learn to work hard. She wouldn’t feel the joy when finally getting 100% on a spelling test. We need the pain and suffering to fully appreciate life to its fullest. We need to be able to conquer our shortcomings. We need to let our loved ones pass on to experience the grace of heaven. God gives us the strength to do just that if we ask for help.
The very tough question of “Why are babies still born with defects?” strikes a chord in all of us. We all want babies to be born healthy and perfect. But again it comes down to biology, laws of science. God does not break those laws. I won’t explain any further about genes or chromosomes because science has never been one of my strong suits. I do need to express that though I understand the struggle with this question it also really ticks me off. All human life is precious to God. He doesn’t care if we are cross-eyed, blind, crippled, or any number of things that are considered “defects.” All of us have a defect. Granted many of our imperfections are hidden from the world or overlooked, but we have them just the same. To consider one baby superior over another because one is considered to be defected is breaking the laws of God. And please don’t get me started on discovering the “defects” before the child is born and terminating the pregnancy. We need to see all children through the eyes of God. They are precious and they are perfect.
The facts are simple. We will get sick; some of us will be crippled; some of us will have diseases; we will suffer; we will feel pain; and we will die. I can’t help but add this quote from the movie The Princess Bride spoken by the Man in Black to Buttercup, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” Suffering is part of our journey to holiness. Turn to God for strength, give strength to other people, and by all means enjoy the beautiful moments! They are out there. We just need to open our hearts.
Blessings to you all.