The Book of Job and Suffering Christians

Why-PicWe live in a broken world. Bad things happen, and sometimes they happen in clusters. Cancer, death, accidents, and illnesses happen all the time. This year as a Church we’ve been confronted with dozens of tragedies, and every time the same question comes up, “Why?”

It takes many forms like “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “Why did God let this happen?” “Why me?” but they all go back to that one word, “Why” which we desperately use to grasp for meaning and purpose and hope.

In one such moment, 6 months ago, I was trying to reassure a friend that God can work through all situations, that as the Heidelberg Catechism says, “[Jesus] also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, all things must work together for my salvation.” In that moment, I pointed to Job, the archetypical innocent sufferer for proof that God use a situation even when he does explain it.

4 months later, my friend text me: “I finished reading Job. What’s the hardest book in the Bible to understand?” Haha. I guess I should have warned my friend or been a good pastor and read it with him. Either way, maybe this diagram will help some of you understand the book of Job, and Job will help you trust God in your situation.

How Could a Good God Allow Suffering? – Another Implication of Resurrection

The Resurrection is more than a platitude and more than "pie in the sky" thinking. The Resurrection is the core of Christian teaching and as such has infinite application for human life. Good theology is a source of great comfort. While personal experiences of God's goodness and provision help confirm God's trustworthiness, our overall level of comfort and hope in the Christian Gospel is directly proportionate to the depth of our understanding.
In the face of gross suffering in the world, many people conclude that there must not be a good God in the world, or else none of this pain would happen. But does suffering and evil actually prove that God does not exist or that God is not good? That is the question Tim Keller answers in this podcast presented by The Veritas Forum, and his answer proves that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is more than a platitude. If the Resurrection of Jesus Christ actually occurred, then the whole theodicy debate has been reframed.

How Could a Good God Allow Suffering? Belief in an Age of Skepticism from Veritas [1] on Vimeo.

Here is the link to the Podcast if you want to download it to your phone/iPod. Tim Keller - "How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?" 

Weekly Bible Reading Plan – January 3 – 10

The center column holds the main text for each day, while the right column includes secondary texts. 

Basic Tips:1.) Use a translation you can understand. If new to the Bible, try the NIrV or The Message, which are both available online. 2.) Use a kids Bible with kids. 3.) Keep a pencil and notebook around to write down questions, observations, and conclusions. 4.) Have fun. Use your imagination and your brain.

January 3-10

FOR THE KING – Glimpses of the Kingdom (Part 2)

The Kingdom is Like a Box of Chocolates  

Day 1

Matt 13:24-30,36-43

Day 2

Matt 13:47-52

Day 3

Isaiah 5:1-7

Day 4

John 8:31-46

Day 5

1 John 3:11-18

Psalm 115

Questions to Guide You:

  • These parables about Weeds and Fish are wonderfully realistic. What does it teach us about the Kingdom of God, that there are still lots of weeds and bad fish mixed in? How should this change our expectations of “Christians”?
  • Where did the weeds come from? How does this help to explain the evil in Church history like the Crusades and Inquisition, and the evil that still mixes in with our thoughts and actions?
  • Is God responsible for causing the evil in the world according to these parables? How does God respond to the evil? How should we as God’s servants?
  • How is God like a gardener, farmer, or vine-keeper? How is that encouraging?
  • One of our Church Belief Confessions starts with the following: What is your only comfort in life and in death? A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death —to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.
  • How can we better see Heaven on Earth by recognizing “weeds” and waiting on God to remove them in his good time?

Here is a PDF Version if you would like to print this reading plan.