In the last few weeks, I’ve spent hours reading much on the paradox of evil and suffering vs. a loving and all powerful God. Hours. I’ve been thinking. learning. praying. blogging.
I began with the personal belief that God is loving, all-knowing and all-powerful – in spite of the evil and suffering in the world. I intentionally choose to accept this paradox. Intellectually, I don’t understand it. Emotionally, I hate it. Spiritually, I believe it.
But I was not ready.
Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you. [Peter 3:15]
I had no answer other than, “I don’t understand it. I hate it. But I believe it.”
Not very pragmatic. So I went to books, as usual. I seek knowledge, as usual. I read C.S. Lewis for the first time. (The Problem of Pain) I read Philip Yancy for the first time. (Where is God When It Hurts?) I read Lee Strobel for the first time. (The Case for Faith) I read Herbert Lockyer. (Dark Threads the Weaver Needs) I’ve got a book list including John Piper’s Spectacular Sins and others. I’m still reading and I’m sure I’ll continue blogging about my learning curve and thoughts. But.
Today I watched a 55 minute video and it pulled everything together. E V E R Y T H I N G.
I paused it. Rewinded a few times. Made notes. Typed minute 48. Minute 48 is compelling to be sure. But the truth is that the entire video is compelling.
If you have ever – EVER – considered the “Is this all there is?” question, I promise you that this 55 minutes of your time won’t be wasted. Randy Pausch’s last lecture pales.
Rachel Barkey is dying of cancer. She is 37. She has two children under 5 years old. This is her testimony. Four things she has learned:
Know the Gospel.
Know your Purpose.
Don’t have 55 minutes in one sitting? Watch a little at a time. Break it up and watch each of these “things she’s learned” separately. I challenge you, I encourage you, I beg you – to take 55 minutes out of the busyness and redundancy of daily life and think on these things.
Here’s minute 48:
“I am dying.
But so are you.
Neither of us knows if we will even see tomorrow. And perhaps the reason that I am suffering now, the reason that God is waiting to bring judgment against all the evil in this world is because he is waiting for you. For you to acknowledge your sin and to turn to him for forgiveness.
Maybe you are the one we are waiting for.
Jesus suffered. God did not spare him. Why would he spare me? If my suffering would result in good for you? If my suffering is the means that God would use to bring even one person to himself, it is an honor for me to suffer.
Does that seem strange?
I suppose it does.
But really, it is the only way that all of this makes any sense at all.
A God who sees my suffering but is is unable, or worse, unwilling to spare me? A God who sees my suffering but allows it? With no greater purpose or hope? My God is able to save me and he will. But save me from what?
From a life without him.”
Rachel’s message contains my answer.