Saturday, September 25, 2010

Faith and Suffering

My last post prompted an anonymous comment unlike one that I’ve received before, and although I’m hesitant to respond publicly, the topic is such that I think deserves a thoughtful response.

The comment dealt with God’s providing for my wants…in a world full of starvation. (Pretty heavy way to start a Saturday morning!) But, it’s a genuine thought and it has given me some things to think about as I begin my day.

I have faith that God can provide for our needs and wants. And, to quote author Lee Strobel, “only in a world where faith is difficult can faith exist”. In my life, I have been blessed to have all of my needs met, and a lot of my wants, too! And, I have made the choice to try to recognize God’s involvement in my life, which includes seeing the things I receive (i.e. a new TV) as His doing. And, it’s made a difference in my Christian life to make an effort to acknowledge God’s constant work around me.

I understand this objection, though. God can provide, but He does allow suffering in the world (including starvation), which is a result of His gift of human free will. God’s answer to the suffering in the world was to come down to it, which is exactly what happened when Jesus was on the cross, dying for humanity’s sins. This response to suffering allowed for the promise of Heaven, where there will be no more suffering, no more starvation!

This is a challenging issue, one that I’ve wrestled with and one that I know I don’t have all the answers to. I learned a great deal from reading “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel, though. This book explores several of the toughest objections to Christianity. (Chapter One is titled “Objection #1: Since Evil and Suffering Exist, A Loving God Cannot”.) If one was interested, reading this book might provide some additional things to think about.

Perhaps this is more of a response than was expected or desired, but I’m glad to have had occasion to think through this today.

Difficult questions should not be avoided. Thank you, God, for giving me the conviction and confidence to acknowledge and explore this one…. 


  1. But why is god wasting his time reminding you with a stupid TV and ignoring real problems?

    Seems pretty ridiculous. Just like when athletes thank god for helping them win or blessing them. Oh really? So god just decided to screw the other team?

  2. You know, at times I think that the reasoning behind "why does God give YOU this, but gives those people either a. nothing or b. worthless junk" is either a person who is doubting God, or one that doesn't believe at all. Those who are followers of the Lord know that He blesses those who follow and love him.
    In "same as before"'s post above, perhaps the team who lost doesn't put their faith in Him, and the team that won is full of believers who take the time to pray and thank God for their talents before the game.
    Perhaps those dealing with "real problems" that you say God is "ignoring" aren't believers and that is why they are not being blessed.
    My point is, God is not "wasting his time" reminding Emily with a "stupid TV." He is providing for those who remain faithful to Him. If you are not a believer, or are doubting your faith, perhaps you do not understand what I mean. However, I don't believe any of this is ridiculous. But, thank God, that is my right, as it is yours, to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom, freedom, freedom...
    Love ya Em. <3

  3. Please consider all of the Africans who Christians have all converted through missionary work during the past century. They are all, if not more, devote to Christianity than anyone here in the U.S. Please explain.

    The argument above is ridiculous. Why didn't Tim Tebow win the national championship last year in football?

  4. Anonymous Apostle:

    I've been following this debate unfold and now have a couple of thoughts. In response to Lindsey: You can't be serious. Either your logic is flawed or you don't represent what I think the average Christian tries to embody. I thought God was all-loving and forgiving.... By making the argument that God rewards only those that love him you ignore the questions of how non-believers receive "goodness/gifts." I would argue there are lots of non-believers living plush and comfortable lives (and often very giving lives) in the name of themselves and their families. I would also argue that their are MANY believers who live in poverty with nothing.... But they should just accept the shitty life they have and those that have should not bother themselves with helping them because they will be happier in heaven right?

    I don't mean to become derogatory or argumentative but here's the underlying ideology that "still the same" and I seem to be trying to get across: There is no way that God, if he were to exist, would reward those that love him with materialistic, unnecessary items if he was capable. If he were a loving, providing God he would provide food to those devoted souls in need that keep the spirit of God alive despite their horrible living conditions. He would do this as a sign to remind you of how blessed you are... would that not be a better sign than a big screen?

    Fun debate. And yes Lindsey, thankfully we do have freedom of religion. God bless America. :)

  5. Truly, some people are just miserable, and in being so, want to drag other people (& other countries?) into their misery.

    Emily, God HAS blessed you, and God DESIRES for you two to be happy and to enjoy His blessings. You and I both know that God is not SPITEFUL, that God is not PUNISHING other people by denying them food, and that God puts cowards like "Anonymous" in our lives to keep our Armor nice and shiny ;)


  6. Anonymous Apostle--

    Let's be real here, I am not anywhere close to miserable. I'm happy and confident in myself and the human race as the makers/setters of our destiny. I believe that people are born inherently good and I don't believe in sin.

    This would be more interesting if there were arguments. Saying that God desires Emily is merely a statement.... and let's be honest... not a super persuasive one. Why doesn't God desire starving children.... AIDS victims... Democrats? Haha. Your 'armor' might be nice and shiny but are you thinking? At least make a rational argument or quote me some scripture.

    I will say this. If God and religion empower, enhance and give your life meaning than this is a good thing. I am supportive. I think that using Christianity to live a better life is fine! BUT, by simply using religion as an excuse, or easy answer is just that, easy. You don't have to worry about reasoning, logic or the big picture because the answer your answer is always (blindly) God. If you're going to do that at least think and write something logical. :)

    Never thought your blog would result in this did ya Emily!? :)

    And I'm going to go ahead and reiterate that God, in all his holiness, did not put my coward-ess self in your life. I did that all by myself.