“It’s a tragedy beyond comprehension.”
All you have to do is turn on the news today and you’ll too often hear those haunting words. From the tsunami in Japan to the horrible tornadoes in Alabama, Missouri, and Oklahoma, the human mind simply cannot fathom the level at which suffering and death can so often come in an instant. And in the midst of seeing so much pain, the natural human reaction is to ask one question:
The problem of suffering and evil in the world has been called the “Achilles Heel” of Christianity, something that, supposedly, our belief system just can’t explain. But the fact is that we’re expected to give an answer to the question of “Why?” which often goes something like this: “If God is all-powerful and yet God is also all-loving, how is it possible that these things happen? Either God is all-loving and He is not all-powerful or God is all-powerful and He is not all-loving. Take your pick!”
Now, we need to say up front that no one, apart from God Himself, knows the full and final answer to all the “whys,” whether it’s a natural disaster or a personal trauma in your own life. There are mysteries that frankly, you and I will never be able to solve.
But the truth is that God doesn’t owe a single one of us any explanation about what He does or why He does what He does. Yet in his grace, He gives you and me a glimpse of the answer to the question of “Why?”
[Pull Quote] God doesn’t owe a single one of us any explanation about what He does or why He does what He does. Yet in His grace, He gives you and me a glimpse of the answer to the question of “Why?”
When we get to Luke 1-5, two terrible tragedies had taken place. One man-made disaster where some Galileans had been murdered by Pilate, and one natural disaster where 18 people were killed when a tower fell on them. So some of Jesus’ followers asked Him that same question: “Why? What’s the reason for these awful tragedies? Was this a judgment upon these men who died?” Jesus responded by saying it wasn’t judgment: “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (v. 5).
Our Lord reminds us here that whether it’s death, disaster, or any kind of pain, our earthly suffering serves as a constant reminder that all of us—not just some—must repent and turn to Him. If you and I never experienced pain, never had a problem, or never suffered, we would be subject to the futility of trying to find our ultimate joy in this world. The fact is that God has given us pain and suffering as a gift from Him.
[Pull Quote] God has given us pain and suffering as a gift from him.
The great writer C. S. Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
So to answer the question of “Why?” it’s because this world is not your home and your longing should continually be for eternity… when the pain, troubles, and tragedies of this world will be erased forever when God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4).
Pain is real. But by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, you can also be certain that it’s temporary as you look forward to your eternal peace when all suffering will forever cease. What a joyous day that will be!
Taken in part from Pastor Graham’s new sermon series, Signs of the Times. Be sure to request this powerful 10-message series on the enclosed reply card. It’s our gift to thank you for any donation you can give to help PowerPoint continue to proclaim the Gospel through our radio, TV, and Internet programs.
It’s not always easy to be grateful. Trying times and sometimes even tragic circumstances befall us. As Pastor Jack Graham reminds us in today’s message, it is particularly in these times that we are called to remember the words of Romans 8:28, knowing that not one thing happens in our lives apart from God’s governance and control.
All Sermons by Jack Graham