Let me start by saying I’ve been called a jackass recently, a certain synonym for the “beast of burden” (AKA: mule, jenny, moke) for saying something similar to this. I’m not complaining. My point of view isn’t always the most comfortable and I’ve been known to stir things up a bit before.
What’s more, maybe the shoe fits, in some ways. Of course, I’m speaking of myself as in comparison to the four-footed animal with large floppy ears – you might have seen it. I agree that I may be like this dull creature in that I will carry my share of a load on my back, if I am beaten long enough. I am as ugly as the brute, my wife will tell you that. And as far as intelligence, there are some striking similarities between myself and the foolish burro. Just today, I was late for an appointment, so did I respond with increased haste, you might ask? Not hardly. I drifted into a daydream while driving down the highway. I missed my turn altogether and progressed from being just a few minutes late to practically absent altogether.
Although I guess I could physically be mistaken for a donkey if I was approached from the wrong angle in dim lighting while tying my shoes, I may be primarily like the animal as it pertains to my lack of knowledge of matters of higher learning, the arts, literature, history, etc. etc. I can perform basic mathematical functions on a calculator and I do know my ABCs. (Although at times my children have caught me singing the alphabet song when searching for papers in my file cabinet.)
So I’m not too smart, not the brightest crayon in the box, a couple of fries short of a happy meal, my elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor, whatever … but, from my asinine point of view, I don’t get all this fuss about a “problem of pain”. I was listening to a talk radio show recently and some guy e-mailed in asking where was God when the host of the show had made some unwise choices and created alot of problems for himself. As if God should have stepped in and saved this guys family from financial ruin, divorce, etc. if he was “truly a good God.” I hear it all the time, “If God is a good God then why does he allow so much suffering in the world?” Somehow this question has stumped many people and caused them to become “bitter” against God. The question is asked, “If God could stop evil and pain, being an all-powerful being, how can he allow evil and suffering to exist?” The only two answers these people rationalize to be possible are that either (1) God is not good or (2) God is not all powerful. They say, “How can a good God allow people to suffer?”
My simplistic point of view, for which I am sometimes demonized, would be … What? Are you joking? You’ve got to be joking. This is not a valid question! This is absurd. Its more than absurd. Its completely blasphemous to insinuate that somehow its God’s fault for the pain in the world and that a good, all-powerful God should stop the pain. Pain is a direct and often indirect result of people’s rebellion against God! Did God cause the pain or did we? Of course, God will allow suffering in this world!
Maybe I should put it this way. When did we start thinking that God was on our side? We are the arch enemies of God by our very existence. He created us good and whole but we chose a long time ago to become the people that we are today. We are God’s enemies from birth. He hates what we do and what we have become, as a human race. He loves us because of what He knows we will become when we are recreated in His likeness again, that’s why he has sent his Son, Jesus, to change us, to make us new, holy creations in his image, but I don’t see how there is any reason he should take away our pain! If anything, we should suffer a whole lot more for the evil that is in our souls and our minds. My guess is we will too, as our society rebels against God’s clear commands more and more. Isn’t the whole purpose of suffering to deter further evil and to judge sin. Isn’t this what we asked for? what we deserve?
Yes, I said it, sin. Sin – there it is again. Why do we feel we must use words like “mistake” or “lack of judgement” to cover what we really are? Again, call me whatever you want, I’m sure I deserve it somehow. But aren’t we the ones who brought the curse on ourselves? Aren’t we the sworn enemies of God by nature through the choice of Adam our father some 10,000 years ago? We are the ones who rebelled against him. Not the other way around. Why do we think that he, the Creator of the universe, should allow us to live – much less take away our suffering?
If we got what we deserve … well, there is a reason they call it hell. Thank God there is a way to escape the judgment to come, by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and repenting of our sin. This way we can become new creations and escape what we deserve. If anything we should be thanking God for the times of reprieve from pain and suffering, not questioning how He could still be good in allowing it.
I know I’m not being very sensitive. My comments probably haven’t made anyone “feel” good. And I’m sure the responses I get to this post will make calling me a jackass look like a compliment. But that’s just the way I see it, and I think I’m in pretty good company.
The Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 ESV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (20) For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (24) Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, (25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (26) For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; (27) and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (28) And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (29) They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (32) Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.