I was watching a sermon by Andy Stanley (if you click the link go to sermon number 5 at bottom) and it reminded me of something about Theodicy. Theodicy is the study of how God can exist when suffering also exists. Andy says more people have left Christianity because existence of suffering than any other cause. But he pointed out something that I, myself have noticed in my many interviews I’ve done.
He said, “Don’t commandeer other people’s pain to build your case against God.” He’s saying that because someone else has suffered should not be evidence enough for you to discount God; you don’t know if they felt like God was unjust to them. He says, in fact, many people are drawn closer to God through their pain.
I would argue that this is supremely true about dying babies, the most innocent subjects some may claim are wronged by death. But aren’t they, in death, very quickly drawn close, very close to God. How can we fault God for that? Even if it involves pain, they are still in painless paradise ahead of us.
The homeless people that I interview (Here are just a few examples Lavonya, Gary, Pamela). And the people that I know that have born the most pain, in chronic illness, mental or sexual struggles, they almost all talk about their strong faith and how they depend on God. And almost all of the ones I’ve asked have even said they wouldn’t give up the pain if they could have because it has drawn them closer to God and now they know how valuable that is.
So, I think what Andy says is right. Don’t discount God because of someone else’s suffering, whether that be innocent babies, homeless people, or people with chronic pain or mental struggles. We each only have grounds to judge God on our own experience.
Raw Spoon, 3-30-17