Because Christans are not atheists, it is perplexing when God does not is silent in the face of our suffering. Where is God when it hurts? Theologically, sin and suffering find their genesis in the Fall, and it does no good to wonder what the world would be like without sin (until Jesus returns). We must, then, learn to live with evil.
It is a common misconception that God turns all things into good. There are things which simply are evil, things which are bad. God does not make evil into good; no matter how much good God may reveal eventually, evil remains evil. Therefore, confidence in God's goodness does not require us to deny the reality of evil or the pain it causes us.
Jesus endured the cross. Jesus prayed very hard in the garden before that fateful day. If Jesus had to face suffering by enduring it, what makes us think we can pretend that it doesn't really hurt?
Whatever God permits in our lives, it is safe to assume that God is going to (my words) redeem it and use it for some purpose. It seems, however, that our response to suffering should be to question our holiness and justice, rather than God's. So, we must be honest about our pain in our suffering, and honest about our pain when it seems that God is silent. Without honesty, we cannot face God in prayer and truly seek him.
Where is God when it hurts? Biblically, he is on the cross, taking to himself the sin and suffering of the world. His goodness is not measured by how our pain could be reduced "if he really cared," but by how much agony he has already endured for us.
The question "Can we pray to a God that lets people hurt?" must instead be "Can we pray to a God who died for people who hurt?" Yes, we can.
- Do you think the existence of pain and evil is a difficulty for most praying Christians? Explain. Do you know anyone who has stopped praying because of suffering?
- "The results of love seem work the risk of pain." Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not?
- Do you think Christians feel they have to put on a happy face and have a nice day (every day) in order to be spiritual? Do you think your church or Christian community lets people "hurt" in prayer?