The Inside Column 29/01

Posted in: The Inside Column- Jan 29, 2012 No Comments

I was reading Nicky Gumbel’s notes in the Bible in One Year, and again the question of why does God allow suffering came up. Of course we are all thinking about the Hot air balloon tragedy, last year was a year of devastation in Christchurch, and the question always is “Why?”

Why does God allow such suffering? We are consistently confronted by suffering which bewilders and outrages us.This is the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith. The amount of suffering and its distribution seems to be random and unfair.

Nicky’s part answer was the reading from Psalm 16:1-11. See the suffering of this life in the context of eternity.

Nicky then uses the following illustration of Gavin Reid, the former Bishop of Maidstone. He told of a boy in his congregation who shattered his back falling down the stairs at the age of one and had consequently been in and out of Hospital. When Gavin interviewed him in church the boy remarked, “God is fair.” Gavin stopped him and asked, “How old are you?” “Seventeen,” the boy replied.”‘How many years have you spent in hospital?” The boy answered, “Thirteen years.”‘ He was asked, “Do you think that is fair?” He replied, “God has got all of eternity to make it up to me.” That statement sums it up. Yet we will agree, suffering is just horrible. It burns up our faith with our anger at God. The unfairness, the injustice we perceive it to be.

The world we live in is one of having everything now. Of countries who have placed the world economy in financial crisis. It is based on there is no thought for the future, only the present. The Bible talks of a new future – a new heavens and a new earth. A resurrection to life in the presence of God.

Psalm 16 is one of the few Old Testament passages which of eternity in Gods presence psalmist writes, ‘Because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand’ (Psalm 16:10-11).

In a sermon I preached just after the second major Christchurch earthquake.I wrote, “In the end do we face today and the future with God or without God?” I think we all know its much better with God than without. As we look towards 2012, let’s make this a year where we face it and work in confidence and trust that God is, Emmanuel, definitely with us..


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