At a time when people stop to relfect on the year gone by, here’s the next in the Apologetics series: ‘Why does God allow so much suffering?’
First of all, listen carefully. Some people use suffering as an excuse to avoid God; others are angry against God; others desperate for comfort and hope. Tailor your response to each person.
1. Ask people why they’re outraged by suffering. Their answers won’t make sense in a world without God.
2. ‘Why don’t you do something about suffering? Could it be your real issue is not suffering at all, but a God who claims your life?
3. ‘Your anger shows you think you know better than God.’
4. When Jesus was asked about suffering he did not engage in theoretical explanations, but called on people to repent (Luke 13:1-5). C. S. Lewis called suffering God’s megaphone, warning humanity of his coming judgment.
5. Tell people who are suffering that: (1) Jesus suffered with us – giving comfort in the midst of suffering. (2) Jesus suffered for us – giving hope for the end of the suffering.
6. Point people to the cross. The cross reveals evilness of evil (we don’t pretend that suffering is not that bad). The cross reveals the sovereignty of God (see Acts 4:28). The cross reveals the pure goodness and love of God. And on the cross Jesus overcomes evil.
This material is adapted from a Porterbrook Learning module.
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