Why do these things happen? (Part 2)
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
For people of faith, answering the “Why?” question is closely tied up with God’s goodness. Why does a God is who is all-good and all-powerful allow suffering?
Many answers are offered, many of them helpful but none truly satisfactory. Yes, God wants us to grow individually, and our experience is part of his larger plan which works through suffering to glory.
But the deepest response is not an answer to the “Why?” question at all. It is to realise that in Jesus God has joined us in the middle of our desperate plight. God is with us.
Francis Spufford, in his remarkable (and challenging) book Unapologetic after reviewing all the usual answers, and finding that though they each help and enlighten, they don’t touch the heart, says:
“We don’t say that God’s in His heaven and all’s well with the world; not deep down. We say: all is not well with the world, but at least God is here in it, with us. We don’t have an argument that solves the problem of the cruel world, but we have a story. When I pray… I look across, not up; I look into the world, not out or away. When I pray I see a face, a human face among other human faces…. For a Christian, the most essential thing God does in time, in all of human history, is to be that man in the crowd; a man under arrest, and on his way to our common catastrophe.”
Easter is coming!
Thank you, Eternal God, that you have not remained distant and unmoved but have come to be one of us in the person of Jesus. Thank you that you know our human suffering from the inside.