Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Broken, Beat, and Scarred - Why does God allow suffering?

"Broken, beat, and scarred.  We die hard.  What doesn't kill us, makes us more strong.  We rise, we fall, we get up again.  What doesn't kill us makes us more strong.  Broken, beat, and scarred.  We die hard!!!"

Some pretty intense lyrics if we think about them.  They come from the Metallica song, "Broken, beat, and scarred".

When I read the writings of the apostle Paul and hear about his flogging, stonings, and imprisonments, I think that I surely haven't suffered much for my Christian faith.  Despite all of Paul's persecution's he kept rising up again.  Forget John McClaine - The Apostle Paul knew what it meant to "Die Hard".  I have not yet shed blood for my faith in Jesus in Christ.  I might never do so, but the words of Paul still ring true for me and all of us when he says that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope.  And hope doesn't disappoint us. 

But I know I complain a lot about my present sufferings.  I think most of us do.  But here, coming from Metallica, I am reminded that what doesn't kill us makes us more strong.  I think of Paul when he said, "When I am weak, I am strong."  When he's weak, he has no choice but to cling to God!  When he is holding on to God, then he is strong. 

One complaint against Christianity is the problem of evil and suffering in the world.  It's easy to say "what doesn't kill us makes us more strong" when it's simple sufferings, broken arm a bad breakup, but what about genocide, rape, a four-year old with cancer.  We tend to want to wave our fist at God!  What's your problem???  Why didn't you stop this.  We can't see the good that can come from it.  What loving Father would allow such a thing to his children - stronger - yea right! 

The answer lies in Jesus.  Being God, perfect and sinless, he still suffered.  He suffered on our behalf, because of our shortcomings.  It lies in God's patience with us!  Does he want pain and suffering for us - no!  But he allows it.  If he were to intervene now, what would that mean for everyone who doesn't know him.  He is patient in his return, waiting for more people to come to repentance?  It's his will that no man should eternally perish - sadly, we are set to face a physical death as our exodus from this life.  The answer won't satisfy everybody and I hope and pray that I stand firm in the faith and trust God's plan of redemption when the worst of the worst hits my life. 


  1. Pretty much total dogma. Nothing that would pass as apologetics here.

  2. I can agree with that Poolcatt. I do however think the question of why an all-loving and all-powerful God allowing evil opens itself up to what Scripture says. The question itself presupposes the use of Scripture, right? How would a person know if God is all-loving? How would a person know that God is all-powerful? The Bible is being used to draw such conclusions, so the Bible is completely fair game to be used in answering this question, which can lend itself to a very dogmatic answer. As I wrote in the blog post, the answer doesn't completely satisfy, and I don't think this answer can be completely satisfied.

  3. I would agree with your thoughts, if the discussion is within the ecosystem of already Bible believers. However, I'm assuming your site is open to anyone pursuing intellectual honesty by honestly seeking answers - questioning believers AND non-believers. Within that context, you wouldn't use a source to verify itself like you wouldn't use a word in it's own definition. So while you're certainly free to say, "the Bible is true because the Bible says it's true", that's not promoting apologetics, it's promoting dogma.

    So, what evidence is there, outside of the Bible, that there is a god and that that god is all-loving and all-powerful?

  4. Right. For the evidence to answer the questions is there a God and is that God all-loving and all-powerful, I would direct you to some of the articles in the "Why Believe the Bible?" section of the site. Such answers have to come from how God has revealed himself to us, and for information on that there is an article under "What's in the Bible?".

    If someone who is not a Christian asks the question, "Why would an all-powerful and all-loving God allow evil?", I think it is still appropriate to be able to use the Bible for the answer. I'd share that the question itself presupposes information drawn from the Bible, so the Bible should be free game to use if it's already being used to generate the question.

    This site is far from complete. If you see some topics that are missing from "Why Believe the Bible?" feel free to let me know and even write one up to be added to the site. Also, I'm way open to guest bloggers. I've only had one person take me up on it so far. If you write for the site, I'll put a link to your site or blog if you have one. I'm assuming you are a Christian when I write this offer of course.

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