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Thursday, February 14, 2008


Suffering in the World:

I wanted to address this criticism of God to explain some things about suffering. There is a lot of suffering in the world. To say that all suffering is the result of sin would be ludicrous because Jesus suffered. There are several good reasons for suffering in a fallen world.

1. It keeps people in line. The person who might want our stuff will not steal it because there is a consequence - jail. But those that disregard that are punished and suffer the consequence.

2. Illness - some illness is a result of dying. In America we go way overboard trying to keep elderly people that are dying alive to the point of ridiculousness. Some illness is as a direct result of sin. But there is other illness that is neither. The innocent always suffer from the sin in this world and there is no greater example of that than sickness in children. The argument that God should just let you sin without any consequence is again an absurd argument. If we didn't punish stealing, people would steal. If God didn't punish se*ual deviance, there would be an out of control situation for those that refuse to repent. It is already happening in places like New Orleans. These things are for the ungodly and the sinner, not for those who are righteous by faith. It isn't necessary for them because the Holy Spirit keeps them.

3. Leadership that is cruel can have an effect on people. Those people who are unfortunate that live in countries where they are tortured cruelly are in that position because of the evil wicked leader that they have to endure often with the full support of their local religion. I will say again that there is no leader that can maintain that leadership were it not for people that support them who are also evil.

4. We suffer a great deal in this country from all the pressure to have certain things. Parents in this country must maintain a certain level of support or else. The financial pressure here is overwhelming at times and they say is 90% of the cause for divorce.

5. People that live simple lives have more than those that have a lot. Paul said it this way, "Having nothing, yet possessing everything." I have been to Haiti and my children have been to China. It is hard to describe what it is like in a 3rd world country but I can tell you this, it isn't a place of weeping and sorrow. On the contrary, the Haitians are a colorful happy people. My daughter told me that the people in China have nothing but they are so happy and grateful. You give them one little thing and they are overjoyed where here, we toss it in the garbage like its nothing or whine because it isn't good enough for us. So can you see a little character that comes from this?

6. When someone is suffering God means for us that have to give to their needs and help them. God loves a cheerful giver. So, for example, our church sponsors a woman who is in Africa that has a huge orphanage of AIDS orphans. They get teaching, clothing, and meals. Again, these children are not unhappy. They are grateful!

7. I went to an amusement with my children this Christmas and the little children there were obnoxious brats screaming sometimes at their parents, demanding their way, throwing tantrums because they couldn't have and lots more. So you tell me, who is better - the child in the foreign country that has food and the basic necessities of life or the children in America who enjoy every luxury? I know this isn't everyone but some Americans travel to other countries with this demanding attitude and the locals are appalled. God forbid that any American should have to suffer for a minute. It gives us a bad rap with foreigners.

Suffering is not always what it appears to be. Suffering does a great deal to create good too. We watch that program where they build houses for people and you would have to be totally unemotional not to get a tear in your eyes seeing those people restored. That's why there is suffering. Beautiful butterflies come from the suffering as the matured butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. Ever heard the phrase, "Beauty from ashes?" Our redemption is through suffering. The most beloved fairy tale is about a girl who suffers, maintains her character and in the end gets the prince - Cinderella. Who doesn't love that story?


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