Suffering

At the Feast of Tabernacles, I will give a live streamed sermon to the church (or a version of it that has been pre-recorded and played the next day from the download.) The date of the sermon is October 7.  A version of it will be recorded in Cincinnati on September 9th.

I would like to address a question, one of the biggest questions of all about life, humanity, and God. That question is WHY there is suffering and evil in the world if there is a loving and kind God?  I have been asked that in real life at a Rotary meeting in Estonia regarding the Tsunami Tragedy of 2005 where hundreds of thousands perished.  Why them?  I was amazed at the anger towards God and people of religion.  They demanded an explanation from us in the ministry who are to know the answers.

This question is not one limited to God and religion.  But, also one questioned and reasoned by secular philosophers going all the way back to the Greek Classic period.

I’ve taken a lot of notes about things I’d like to say, but in a few blogs would like to formulate the main elements and why I’d like to cover this topic at a time of joy, the Feast of Tabernacles.  Why use this time of joy to talk about suffering?

Suffering is all around us.  So, is the world’s evil.  It’s a world filled with angry, desperate hateful people.  Acts of violence and terror are reported daily.  The world is a dangerous place with crazed irrational leaders who would destroy everyone, including themselves if they could.

Random acts of misfortune and accidents occur in the lives of everyone, including “good people.”

How can we reconcile God’s Providence, protection and direction in our lives when unpleasant things will beset us?

I would like to cover the following points, not in any particular order, but points that I think should be answered or covered in the sermon:

  1. Why does God not “protect” us from certain misfortunes in our lives or those who are close to us?
  2. What’s there to learn from pain, physical and emotional?
  3. Give a personal example of coping with an accident and pain and what I’ve learned from it.  I want to talk about my experience of being hospitalized in Africa in January 2011.
  4. When did pain and suffering enter into the human experience?  (After the Garden of Eden and man’s choice to manage his own affairs)
  5. The end of pain and suffering is in sight for all at the time when the Garden of Eden is restored into the human experience.

 A New Heaven and a New Earth (Reveletion 21) 
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and there will be no moredeathh or mourning or crying or pain, for the former thing have passed away.” 5 And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are faithful and true.”…

6.  God Himself is not exempt from the experience of pain.  The suffering and death of Jesus Christ was hard on God the Father and Jesus Christ.  God allowed it to happen.  What was to be “learned” by this.  What was the point?

7.  Free Will –  have this discussion and the post WWII book about a society that could do no evil.  If God would not allow pain to happen, then man would have no free will.

8. Colossians 1

This is all for now.   Just thoughts to be worked on more fully…..

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