If God is good and He loves us, then how do we explain pain, suffering, tragedy, and death?
Is He watching, but powerless to do anything about it? Or is it just that He is unable to see what is going to happen, thus He simply cannot affect the future?
Our family recently watched Kirk Cameron’s Unstoppable. He did an amazing job addressing these tough issues as he tries to deal with great loss. Kirk said that “these are the questions that turn Christians into atheists.” I would also add that these are questions that keep atheists from turning into Christians.
As a storyteller, Kirk Cameron did a wonderful job of portraying the greatest story ever told.
It is History. It is our story. It is the story of our creation, our sin and its subsequent death, and most importantly, our redemption. He addresses what happened to mankind in the garden, Cain killing his brother, the disobedience at Babel, the saving of Noah and his family, the destruction of the earth with the flood, the promise to Abraham, and the promise of Jesus. He did a wonderful job portraying the reasons for the pain, suffering, tragedy, and death that are rampant in our world.
He shared the truth that God does work all things for good for those who love Him, like Romans 8:28 teaches us. God is working in all things for His glory and for our good. He is working in the hard things and in the good things. He is working in our blessings, our successes, our pain, our suffering, and even in our death.
Kirk shared the teaching illustration that Jesus discusses in the Bible referring to His own death. (See John 12:23-24). Jesus taught that unless a single kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will only remain a single seed. Only in its death can many seeds be produced.
“A man is helped to live by being reminded that he must die.” ~Charles Spurgeon
John 3:16 and the cross of Christ tell a story. “Jesus flips death on its head by dying for His enemies. After death came life. Life burst from the grave. In fact, every graveyard is a garden. And one day, each seed will burst into a new world. God’s purposes are unstoppable.” ~Kirk Cameron
We know that in the midst of our suffering, God does care. He cared enough to send His one and only son to die so that we may live. When Lazarus died, Jesus, God in flesh, wept. He didn’t cry because He was powerless to do anything about the outcome. He wept because He saw those whom He loved weeping in their grief and loss. (See John 11). He cares.The God of the universe wept for His people because He cares.
The New Living Translation of the Bible says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” (Psalm 56:8). We may not understand why He chooses not to answer our prayers the way we think He should, but we cannot argue that He doesn’t care.
We have another example, not only of God’s incredible care and love for us, but His patience. “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV).
I don’t know about you, but one of the most exciting promises of my faith is the hope that Christ will one day return for His people. I’m ready. I like to joke that my bags are packed. I am often quite impatient as I wish for Him to return at this moment. I am thankful for my life on this earth, but I know that, at best, it pales in comparison to what is waiting for me in His forever kingdom.
I do need to remember, though, that there are many who still need to be saved. It is for them that God is patiently waiting. It is for them that we must patiently endure. Are we waiting for you? If we are, would you prayerfully consider His calling today?
I don’t have all the answers. Neither does Kirk Cameron.
All I can tell you is that we know our God and He is good. He is sovereign and powerful. He loves us and He is patiently waiting for He wishes all to come to Christ so that we may live forever with Him. That is the peace that helps us cope in the midst of our pain, our suffering, and our tragedies. That is the hope that reigns when we grieve and when we mourn.
There is no sting in death. (1 Corinthians 15:50-58) Christ conquered death on the cross. For now, we will cling to that truth because it is enough. He is enough. It is my deepest prayer that you have settled this issue in your heart.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the midst of our pain and suffering, we can know that we are loved. Help us to remember in our grief that You care. Thank You that we can overcome because You have conquered death. Help us to comfort one another as we wait patiently for Your return. We pray, especially, for those who have not yet come to a saving knowledge of You. May today be the day of salvation for them. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
In loving memory of my precious Aunt Sharon.
*For your convenience, live links to Bible verses have been created. Just click on the highlighted link to read the Bible verse in a new window.
You can purchase Kirk Cameron’s Unstoppable from Amazon. Another Kirk Cameron must see is Monumental: In Search of America’s National Treasure. If you’d like to read his story about coming to the faith, check out Still Growing: An Autobiography.
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