Daily Devotional 6-25-19

Word on Wednesday – by John Mason’Suffering’ – June 12, 2019‘If God is great and good why is there so much suffering?’ A question we regularly hear, especially when the topic of Christianity comes up. Certainly this is one of life’s tough questions that we all want answered. The reality of pain and suffering is probably one of the biggest reasons people give for rejecting the existence of God.For the professing Christian person it’s one of the toughest, if not thetoughest question to have to answer and, I have to say, there are no complete answers. It would be wrong to insist that there are. So what can we say about this profound and perplexing subject? Let me briefly raise a number of points we can consider.Reasonable logic. To use a simple Philosophy 101 syllogism, one line of argument often goes like this:
          A God who is all-powerful would be able to end suffering and pain;
          A God who is all-loving would want suffering and pain to cease;
          BUT suffering and pain exist;
          Therefore a God who is all powerful and all loving does not exist.At first sight it seems to make a lot of sense. But consider the response by the philosopher Alvin Plantinga: A God who is all-powerful would be able to end suffering and pain;
           A God who is all-loving would want suffering and pain to cease;
           BUT suffering and pain exist;
           Therefore a God who is all powerful and all loving has a bigger plan.So, what is the larger picture that God has in mind? Is there any evidence for it? To answer this question it is helpful to see what the records about Jesus’ life have to say on the subject.Luke 8:40-56 tells us of two sets of people faced with suffering and anguish – the first, a woman who had an incurable haemorrhage for twelve years; the second, a man whose twelve year-old daughter was dying. Both turned to Jesus for help. In him, both found the help they needed.Transcendent power. Jairus, a recognized synagogue ruler, was charged with ensuring that the law of Moses was taught and upheld. Yet he made no claims to his position when he met with Jesus. Rather, he fell at Jesus’ feet, humbly asking for help. And when the sick woman interrupted Jesus’ progress to his house, Jairus did not object, despite his anxiety. He had a quiet confidence in Jesus. During the delay, news came that his daughter had died. Shockingly Jesus urged him not to fear. Rather ‘believe’. His words underline a major theme in Luke 8. With Jesus, the fear that grips us can give way to the release which faith allows.Arriving at Jairus’s house, Jesus passed by the mourning and disbelieving crowds. Going to the girl’s bedside and taking her hand he said, ‘Child, arise.’  At that she rose and was given food.Compassion. Jesus’ miracles point to his real nature – he is truly God in human form. Furthermore, they are mini-portraits of the deeper blessings he offers our suffering world. He invites us all to lean on him in our time of need. He will not always remove our suffering now, but he does promise to be with us. He is also committed to providing a future where there will be no crying or pain. 
 
Receive Word on Wednesday
Getty Music Worship Conference: ‘Sing…!’ – August 19-21, 2019, Nashville, TN
Theme: ‘The Life of Christ’ – www.gettymusicworshipconference.com 
John Mason speaking – Breakout Group: Tuesday, August 20, 3:00-4:00pm. 
Topic: ‘Thomas Cranmer and Christ-Centered Worship.
(c) John G. Mason – www.anglicanconnection.com