Speaking What We Don’t Understand

I cannot count the times where I’ve heard people speaking on things that God did not make known to them. This often happens on the subject of pain, suffering, and evilness found in this world. “Why did God allow this to happen?” “How can God allow good families to suffer?” “How can God allow children to die such horrific deaths?” In fact, the idea of suffering, pain, and death is one of the main “tools” in the belts of atheists trying to disprove God. Noted atheist and former “preacher” Dan Barker in a 2009 debate against Christian apologist, Kyle Butt, said, “All you have to do is walk into any children’s hospital and you know there is no God. Prayer doesn’t make any difference. Those people pray for their beloved children to live, and they die.” Barker calls this “the problem of evil” that is one of the strongest arguments against God. The atheist argument goes like this: If God is all-loving and all-powerful, then He either doesn’t love children or He is powerless to prevent their deaths. First of all, all it takes is a little meditation on the Christian’s part to see how wrong the atheist is who holds this view. If we’re all a product of evolution, if we’re all just animals, then how can the atheist call anything evil since “evilness” is a component of ethics. No ultimate foundation for ethics exists in the world of atheism. After all, you don’t see animals taking other animals to animal jail for violating some code of morality. Explaining evilness is more of a problem for the atheist, not the Christian. But this isn’t a full refutation of the atheistic religion. I’m writing for the Christian who has thought the same way as our atheist friends. The problem is in the lie, and here’s the lie: A loving, moral God would not allow His creatures, the objects of His love, to suffer at all. Furthermore, the Christian who holds this view has their priorities mixed up. This Christian has forgotten our very purpose here on Earth. They have forgotten that this environment we’re in isn’t our home. They have forgotten that this life is a probationary period where our eternal fate is determined by our response to God’s will. This environment that we live in contains pain and suffering for a reason, the same reason that in any military boot camp, there will be obstacles to overcome, challenges to go through. When boot camp is over, the soldier is more equipped for the fight that when he first entered training. In the same way, this environment is perfect for soul-making. It allows us to be free moral agents, provides us with basic, physical needs, allows us to be challenged, and enables us to learn things that we need to learn. The suffering, pain, and hardship we endure encourages us to grow in moral character. These sufferings help us to acquire courage, patience, humility, and strength of faith. These pains teach us how to develop compassion, sympathy, and love for our fellow man. What we also must remember is that these pains do NOT originate from God but are used by Him for our greater good. If we’ve read Job, we would know that it was Satan that was responsible for Job’s suffering. In consideration of Job, it must be noted that Job also made the mistake of speaking about things that he didn’t understand and God rebuked him for it (Job 38:2; 42:3). Job questioned God because he couldn’t see the purpose of his suffering. And we do the same thing. When we can’t see the purpose for our pains, or we can’t see the fairness of some “evil” act, remember who we’re questioning: the very One who loves and cares for the victims of suffering more than we ever could. If you still can’t see the point, remember God’s words: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding…Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Tell me, if you know this…Do you know it, because you were born then, or because the number of your days is great?…Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it…Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?” (Job 38:2-4, 18, 21; 40:2, 8). Let us stop speaking what we don’t know and speak what we do know: God is love, He is in control, His will is better than our own, and He is worthy to be trusted.