I am not alone; you are not alone. God takes companionship seriously. We serve a God fiercely committed to those who trust him with their lives. Whether we are in the heights of elation, the depths of despair, or somewhere in between we are never beyond his reach or distant from his thoughts (Psalm 139:7-12). Continue reading “Never Alone”
Many people who yearn for a deeper and more relevant faith often fail to realize such hopes because of their inability to reconcile their faith with their experiences of suffering and loss. Suffering strikes at the heart of our faith because we wonder how God would possibly allow such affliction upon those who’ve trusted him with their lives. If we’re not careful, this question of theodicy (why an all-powerful and all-loving God allows suffering) will literally strangle our faith. Continue reading “When Faith Feels Unwarranted”
Only in hurt … that soil of weakness and brokenness, will the lovely rose grow, will My grace bloom.
Suffering is a crucible for our faith because it brings us to the end of ourselves. It takes what we cherish and steals it away. Broken hearts, broken bodies, and broken dreams … this is the soil of suffering. However, despite its appearance as a dismal wasteland, this ground is incredibly fertile for growing our faith. Continue reading “The Soil of Suffering”
Embrace me not as the unfortunate place of the unlucky few, a place for others but not for you.
After we lost our baby girl, Isabella, I remember thinking, “This shouldn’t happen to us. We’ve devoted our lives to God. We’re good people … we don’t deserve this.” I was stunned that God allowed it … and angry He hadn’t intervened. Continue reading “The Merit Trap”
Christians believe that God is sovereign in the affairs of life and death—no one or nothing is more powerful and absolute. This belief can help us find hope in times of trouble because God’s purposes are never threatened or thwarted by anything… not even suffering. Yet, let’s not confuse such confidence in divine sovereignty with a naive faith. Towards this end, two clarifications are needed. Continue reading “The Mystery of Christian Suffering”
My earliest memories of Christian faith are when I was eight years old. I remember experiencing the presence of God in times of prayer and worship. Those were special years… my faith was pure and simple. By the time I was eighteen I had a strong Christian foundation, though with one exception—my faith had no context for suffering. I honestly can’t remember any teachings that seriously addressed the topic of theodicy. Continue reading “Suffering and the Gift of Presence”
The following story shows how an expectation for answers can kill faith, if we let it. Four years after Emily and I married, we were blessed with two sons. Four years later, God blessed us with a baby girl. On December 18, 2008 Isabella Grace graced this world… unfortunately she was only 21 weeks old. In the hospital room we held her lifeless body and bitterly wept. Continue reading “When Faith and Grief Collide”
Why does God allow suffering? If he is all powerful and good, why do grief and hopelessness run so freely upon the earth? Why does God not end the cycles of abuse, violence, hatred, and evil that wreak havoc in this world? These questions reflect the theological mystery called theodicy. Continue reading “Theodicy and the Silence of God”