Suffering and Hope, 6-3-13

May 18, 2016 | by: Pastor Jonathan Riddle | 0 comments

Tags: Life at the Cross

jonathan167As a minister I've spent countless hours with people who are struggling with the biggest questions of life. Why God allows so much tragedy, suffering, and injustice. There are theological answers, which at best are cold comfort. Mostly silence is best; sometimes there are no words. Yet we still have to live in a world with constant devastation and loss, how do we face it as Christians? Maybe even better, how do we face it with Hope?

The Bible says over and over that God empathizes and understands our suffering, He actually identifies with it. The greatest act is God's Son becoming vulnerable, getting involved in our world through suffering and death. God was nailed to a Cross, He knows what its like to suffer. On the Cross, God the Father knows what its like to see injustice. John Stott once wrote:

"I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the Cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? We don't know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, but we know what the reason isn't, what it can't be. It can't be that He doesn't love us! It can't be that He doesn't care. God so loved us and hates suffering that He was willing to come down and get involved in it. Therefore the Cross is incredibly meaningful and empowering."

Christianity is the only religion that has a suffering God, a God who is involved with the sorrows of this world, we are not alone.

We are also a people who have the greatest Hope for the future in History. We believe in a future Resurrection. In Daniel 12:2-3 we read:

"Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake....[They]... will shine like the brightness of the heavens, the stars for ever and ever."

As Tim Keller puts it,

"New heavens and new earth means this body, this world! Our bodies, our homes, our loved ones-restored, returned, perfected and beautified! Given back to us!"

We say this every week in our Creed, "We look for the Resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come." This is what the bible is communicating; so all the sorrow and loss will only make our Redemption and Restoration even greater than before. Yes it is right , that "everything sad is going to come untrue," and yet will be even greater for once being sad.

Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever,

Pastor Jonathan

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