So if you are new here, I started a Bible Study along with Stefanie and about 100 other people at Ni Hao Y’all. We’re studying Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God: Belief In The Age of Skepticism. You can find all the information about the study here. In this chapter, Keller answers the contention that a loving God would not allow suffering. You can find the highlights here.
Let’s get started… this chapter was hard for me. If this book is about leaning into our doubt to find our faith I fell on the way into the lean. Keller says that sometimes knowing that God suffered for us and with us is still not enough for many. They want an answer for what causes the suffering and cure to keep it from happening to others. Sadly, I sometimes find myself square in this camp. It was interesting to read Keller’s answers to the argument that God can’t both be good and all powerful. I think I never questioned the all powerful but often wonder about the good.
Honestly, I’m anxious to hear what other bloggers have to say. I’m currently feeling like I can’t make a single coherent thought about this chapter. I have dealt with grief in my life but not the grief that others have felt, not the pain others have gone through. I think I’ve always reasoned that God gave us free will and because of that, things happen. I’ve always been able to think that there is a reason that we just can’t see, how many people were saved through one person’s strength? Then some natural disaster happens. We wait for love and hope and peace to show up in the carnage. I can’t find a reason for that. Even saying it’s a fallen world so that even the plants and trees grown, I can’t see it. Keller does a good job of explaining that God is bigger than me, it’s not for me to understand. The answer is in redemption that will provide us a life even better than what we’ve dreamed of. When you’re hurting that’s hard to see.
That brings me to this week’s question:
Question: Can you remember a time when you endured suffering or experienced evil that – in time – you realized God used for good?
The deaths of my grandparents and the death of my father all weigh heavy on my heart. I still tear up talking about any one of them. I can physically ache because my kids don’t know those wonderful people who would love them to bits. I’ve had miscarriages that were hard, but losing Jessa was close to a breaking point for me. My plans for an equal number of kids and for Bria to have her best friend sister like Arleigh and Hanan melted away. More than that, I was doing all the “right” things. I thought God would bless me. It was hard. We talked about adoption before Bria. I would like to think that Jack would have turned up in our lives regardless but losing Jessa showed us that we did indeed have room and it was a little easier to make the leap. Three short months ago, I got a phone call that I certainly didn’t want to hear that Tye was gone. Tye was supposed to be my kids Uncle Si, driving us all crazy forever. The pain of grief is awful but I have the promise of seeing them all again. I would like to think that the pain makes me stronger. I certainly appreciate Ray more because he becomes a true rock for me and our kids. I think in the thick of it, as angry as I am with God, in the end I draw closer. My faith strengthens. I also know that my pain is so small in comparison to others. My husband came home from Iraq. My kids are healthy. We have a very blessed life. I try to remind myself daily that I have nothing to complain about.
There are also times that I wonder if my suffering isn’t because I deserve it. God needs to put me in my place because I’m a little too big for my britches. When I’m saying, “Look what I did for you, how are you going to bless me?” Sort of like my kids saying, “Look Mom! I picked the crap up off the floor of my bedroom are you going to take me to the mall and buy me everything I want now?” All the while there is crap on every other surface, the bathroom isn’t clean and their feet are sticking to the floors. I wonder how many times a day God rolls his eyes at me and wants to put me in the corner.
I would be curious if you’re reading this to hear your answer to the questions, whether you’re reading Keller’s book or not. Anybody out there?
To read more answers from this study, just click the button below.