Exhibit A

19 Mar

Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV) 8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As Easter fast approaches I find myself more and more interested in apologetics, the defense of the Gospel, not so much to prove God exists but to be aware of the objections and struggles that we all have in our faith walk. I know that there are going to be lost and wanderers being called from the North, South, East, and West on our city and I want to be prepared to share my faith journey with them and to carefully listen to their objections. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt I could never totally remove every one of their objections because admittedly not all of my objections have been fully answered that is why they call it faith. However, I do believe that the Bible provides significant information to shrink many objections made. I have been reading Tim Keller’s book The Reason For God and thoroughly enjoying the depth of his theology, scriptural knowledge and application. One specific objection has grabbed my attention for a number of years and my interest has been reignited since God has placed on my heart a call to reach wanders (Ezk. 34) and the lost (Luke 15). The objection of How Could a Good God Allow Evil and Suffering? The idea that the presence of evil and suffering in our world provides evidence to disprove God’s existence is incomplete and flawed. Keller says, “Tucked away within the assertion that the world is filled with pointless evil is a hidden premise, namely, that if evil appears pointless to me, then it must be pointless. The reasoning is, of course, fallacious. Just because you can’t see or imagine a good reason for why God might allow something to happen doesn’t mean there can’t be one. Lurking within hard-nosed skepticism is an enormous faith in one’s own cognitive faculties.” Look at Joseph’s story in Genesis he goes through hardship, evil, and suffering. If God had not allowed Joseph to suffer he would have never been able to save a nation and prevent hundreds of thousands from suffering throughout the surrounding nations. Joseph would have never been the man he became without the suffering he endured. God’s purposes were accomplished in and through his life. I want to be careful to say that no one is grateful for the tragedies that life brings. However, on the other hand the wisdom, character, experiences and grace provided to us during those times are matchless in value and in building our faith, they are not for sale, rent, lease or loan. Could it be then that the presence of evil and suffering in our world can actually prove God’s existence along with creation itself acing as evidence in God’s favor. The question that remains is by what standard does the world make it’s judgement? By which standard does the atheist or non-believer in God measure injustice and evil? Keller says, “If you are sure that this natural world is unjust and filled with evil, you are assuming the reality of some extra-natural (or supernatural) standard by which you make your judgement.” For example if we base it on evolution’s idea of natural selection that relies in the strong surviving by bringing death, destruction and violence on the weak then this would be perfectly natural and no injustice or evil can be seen in just doing what comes natural. The issue of suffering, tragedy, and injustice is a problem for everyone not just Christians or believers. It provides just as big a problem for believers and non-believers concerning their belief in God. If we think for a minute that abandoning our belief in God makes it easier to deal with the presence of evil and suffering in our world we are sadly mistaken. I can not see one benefit for unbelief based upon the presence of suffering and evil in the world. The overwhelming truth is there is no ultimate answer for suffering and evil save God’s sovereignty. We must also take a sharp look at God’s grace in all of this. In His sovereignty and by His grace He takes on our suffering and misery and faces down evil in the flesh in the form of Jesus Christ. Even in the depth of our greatest suffering we have Emmanuel God with us in the form of Jesus Christ. When we take a deep look into the incarnation of Jesus Christ coming to earth, clothing Himself in humanity, experiencing suffering, enduring the cross, and defeating satan, sin, and death in the resurrection we find powerful consolation realizing that Jesus is present in our greatest sufferings. We do not face evil and suffering alone we face them side by side and face to face with Jesus in the power of the the Holy Spirit. We have a hope that goes beyond this life and it’s present sufferings. We have a hope that evil will be vanquished forever and love wins. Our God doesn’t want off the hook for evil and suffering in the world He put Himself on the hook, the cruel cross, in order to defeat evil and suffering and offer us hope in the face of the worst possible suffering known to mankind. Jesus understand our pain and suffering. Jesus understands injustice. Jesus understands what it feels like to face evil. Jesus knows what it feels like to be abandoned. Evil and suffering do not prove that God doesn’t exist. People who have experienced evil and suffering and overcame it by faith in Jesus Christ reveal that God does exist. We act as living testimonies, trophies of grace. I can not explain why evil and suffering take place in this world but I sure will not abandon my faith just because they do. I trust in Isaiah 55:8-9 that reminds me that God’s ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts. I find comfort in that truth. I find comfort I am not the standard by which the world is judged just or unjust God is. I find comfort in knowing even while this world was filled with evil and suffering God sent His one and Only Son, Jesus, to come and reconcile the world to Himself through suffering and paying sin’s ultimate penalty, death. I find comfort in knowing that God’s ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts because I can say with confidence I would not exchange my child’s life for anyone else’s on the planet. God sent His Son to be a ransom for many and to put an ultimate end to evil and suffering. One day that mission will be accomplished when the world is reconciled back to God. Until then whatever you are going through, what ever you are facing call out to Jesus and He will answer. Don’t run from God, run to God. Be encouraged!
1 Comment

Posted by on March 19, 2012 in City on a Hill Church, COAH


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One response to “Exhibit A

  1. servantnetwork

    March 20, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Thanks Mike. His Ways are always best… Lord I believe, now help us all in our unbelief. How often we get our focus on the storm rather than the author of the storm.

    Gary Coiro, nonprofit leader and former pastor


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