- My question today is where is God in the face of evil?
- This question is the question that shipwrecks people’s faith
- Some of you have watched your children die. Some of you have been victims of abuse. Some of you may be being abused right now. Some of you have lost your jobs, lost your fortunes. Some of you have heard that dreaded word cancer. Some of you have been devastated by divorce. And in every case, you asked God to spare you from these things and in every case, he seems to have said, No.
- We try to find a reason why – which is actually a problem of purpose
- We don’t get a “why”. But we get a “who” and we do get a “when”
- It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, and it may not be 10 years from now, it may not be in this life at all. But there’s coming a day when the King of kings and the Lord of lords will literally wipe away every single tear from your eyes. In a place where there is no more sin, no more sorrow, no more sickness and no more pain and no more suffering whatsoever, because it’s gone. That’s the hope of Christianity.
- The evil and suffering that you’re going through has a reason, even if you never discover what that reason is.
- 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
- Now, here’s the problem with knowing God… sometimes knowing and growing in God requires pain.
- IN THE CHAT (1) How many people in here have come to faith at least partially through pain or suffering? (2) How many have grown to become more like Christ through pain and suffering?
- Some things only change after a great tragedy – example of Emmett Till
- 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
- And pain moves your relationship with God from being very formal, to very informal, fake to real. no longer a phony. darkness, bottom of the pit, nowhere to look but up. And God becomes very real to you in that minute.
- E Stanley Jones – Don’t bear trouble, use it. Take whatever happens, justice and injustice, pleasure and pain, compliment and criticism, take it up into God’s purpose for your life, and make something out of it and turn your suffering into a testimony.
- If we take our suffering and channel it towards sinful behavior, it actually leads us to a darker and darker place.
- The difference is in what you believe, what you say to yourself in the midst of your suffering.
- Illustration of… if God would concede me his power for 24 hours…
- I know of a woman who was raped and it nearly destroyed her. She actually got pregnant as a result of this rape. But the son grew to be a good man. If this mom could bring good from evil, so can God.
- And so when people ask me, where’s God in the midst of suffering, I say, God has responded. And his response is Jesus.
- Romanian pastor. He suffered torture, under communist rule. Later in life, he was bound to a wheelchair, because they took rods and beat the bottom of his feet so bad that he could no longer stand. “Christians are like nails, the harder you hit them, the deeper they go. And we’re called to be that nail, that when hit gets driven deeper and deeper into the heart of God and into the things of God, so that there is this testimony for God. And while we don’t rejoice in the pain of the strike, we do rejoice in the depth of its effect.”
- So the bottom line is: where is God in the face of suffering? Well, God was hanging on a cross to take the sins of the world on himself, so we can be in relationship with him.