why does god allow tragedy and suffering lee strobel
Due to the recent tragedies in Aurora, as well as a busy summer by all on staff at Red Rocks Baptist Church, Pastor Les Heinze will resume his Friday Family Article series next week. In the meantime, Pastor Heinze thought that we could all benefit from reading the following article by, originally posted on July 24, 2012 atP. The following is adapted from a sermon preached by author and apologist Lee Strobel on Sunday, July 22, at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. It s already being called the worst mass shooting in American history: 70 people shot by a gunman, 12 of them killed, while they were watching the midnight showing of a new movie. It all happened just 21 miles from where we re sitting. There are no words to describe the anguish being felt by those who are suffering today; our heart and prayers have, and will, go out to them. There are so many tragic stories, so much pain. And many people are asking the question, Why? Why did God allow this? This has been a heart-rending summer for Colorado. First came the wildfires, which ravaged the houses of hundreds of our neighbors, prompting many of them to ask the same question, Why? And those two tragic events are just added to the everyday pain and suffering being experienced in individual lives. There s illness, abuse, broken relationships, betrayal, sorrow, injuries, disappointment, heartache, crime and death. And perhaps you ve been asking the question too. Why? Why me? Why now? That why question is not a new one; it goes back thousands of years. It was asked in the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th Century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields of Cambodia, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo.
And the 21st Century didn t start any better. There was 9/11 and now the Syrian slaughters, and on and on. Why do all of these horrific things happen if there s a loving and powerful God? Why do bad things happen to good people? Several years ago, I commissioned a national survey and asked people what question they d ask if they could only ask God one thing. The number one response was: Why is there suffering in the world? Maybe you ve never asked why our world is infected with pain and suffering, but my guess is you will when they strike you or a loved one with full force. And Jesus said theyP
are Pcoming. Unlike some other religious leaders who wrote off pain and suffering as mere illusions, Jesus was honest about the inevitability of suffering. InP Phe said, You will have suffering in this world. He didn t say you mighthe said it is Pgoing to happen. But why? If you ask me, Why did God allow the gunman to spray the Aurora movie theater with gunfire just two days ago? the only answer I can honestly give consists of four words: I do not know. I don t have God s mind; I don t share his perspective. InP Pwe re told, Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. Someday we ll see with clarity, but for now things are foggy. We can t understand everything from our finite perspective. And frankly, the people suffering from the Aurora tragedy don t need a big theological treatise right now; any intellectual response is going to seem trite and inadequate.
What they desperately need now is the very real and comforting presence of Jesus Christ in their lives. And I m so grateful that so many churches and ministries of this community are helping them experience that. This concludes our hosted excerpt of Lee Strobel s article. To read the rest of the article, click on the link below. Again, we will resume Pastor Heinze s Friday Family Series next week. I found MP3 audio, video and on suffering at Apologetics 315. God is not the creator of evil and suffering. Though suffering isnБt good, God can use it to accomplish good. The day is coming when suffering will cease and God will judge evil. Our suffering will pale in comparison to what God has in store for his followers. We decide whether to turn bitter or turn to God for peace and courage. Though suffering isnБt good, God can use it to accomplish good. He does this by fulfilling His promise inRomans 8:28: БAnd we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Б Notice that the verse doesnБt say God causes evil and suffering, just that he promises to cause good to emerge. And notice that the verse doesnБt say we all will see immediately or even in this life how God has caused good to emerge from a bad circumstance. Remember, we only see things dimly in this world. And notice that God doesnБt make this promise to everyone. He makes the solemn pledge that he will take the bad circumstances that befall us and cause good to emerge if weБre committed to following Him. The Old Testament gives us a great example in the story of Joseph, who went through terrible suffering, being sold into slavery by his brothers, unfairly accused of a crime and falsely imprisoned.
Finally, after a dozen years, he was put in a role of great authority where he could save the lives of his family and many others. This is what he said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20: БYou intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Б And if youБre committed to God, He promises that He can and will take whatever pain youБre experiencing and draw something good from it. You might say, БNo, he canБt in my circumstance. The harm was too great, the damage was too extreme, the depth of my suffering has been too much. No, in my case thereБs no way God can cause any good to emerge. Б But if you doubt GodБs promise, listen to what a wise man said to me when I was researching my book The Case for Faith: God took the very worst thing that has ever happened in the history of the universe Б deicide, or the death of God on the cross Б and turned it into the very best thing that has happened in history of universe: the opening up of heaven to all who follow Him. So if God can take the very worst circumstance imaginable and turn it into the very best situation possible, can he not take the negative circumstances of your life and create something good from them? He can and He will. God can use our suffering to draw us to Himself, to mold and sharpen our character, to influence others for Him Б He can draw something good from our pain in a myriad of waysБif we trust and follow Him. for links to the audio and video, as well as a PDF of the full transcript. I wrote a post on recently which surveys more academic responses to the problem of evil.
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