Suffering

19 posts

Suffering: “Our net of meaning is too small.”

To the ‘why’ of suffering we get no firm answer. Of course some suffering is easily seen to be the result of our sin: war, assault, poverty amidst plenty, the hurtful word. And maybe some is chastisement. But not all. The meaning of the remainder is not told us. It eludes us. Our net of meaning is too small. There’s more to our suffering than our guilt. Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son, (Grand Rapids, […]

What does God’s love do?

A friend recently shared this quote from James Finsley and I am still not sure what I think of it. On some levels, it rings true. We are not protected from the vicissitudes of the world, the “effluvia of the fall,” as Carson calls it. But then, I am not sure. Please leave your thoughts and comments. “The love of God will protect you from nothing, but it will sustain you in all things.”  

Lest we return…

History does provide distance, but it does not erase the reality of what happened. Nor can changes in ideology or a desire for it to have been different. Yes, it is the nature of humans to harm one another, to be self-centered, and this leads to everything from petty grasping to the wars and atrocities that have never ended. It is human nature, but it is not human destiny. We must not forget and that […]

Why did the Son of God Suffer?

“The Son of God suffered unto the death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like His.” George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons. First Series. As cited in CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain, (New York: Macmillan, 1947), p. vi. Cited by CS Lewis in the frontispiece of The Problem of Pain. I am not sure what I make of the statement. Humanity had already been suffering for millennia by the time Jesus came, so is GM saying that by coming Jesus took […]

Lessing’s Son

In preparing for our Foundation Course this fall I am reading (for the first time, I confess) Nietsche’s On Truth and Lie in the Extra-Moral Sense. In it he makes the comment that intellect was given so to the “most delicate, most evanescent beings in order to hold them for a minute in existence, from which otherwise, without this gift, they would have every reason to flee as quickly as Lessing’s son.” I had not heard of […]

Blaming everyone but ourselves.

The Archangel from Tobit, as retold by Frederick Buechner, explaining how we blame suffering on everyone but ourselves. “When terrible things do happen, they fail to understand that for the most part they have brought them down on their own heads. They prefer to think that it is time itself that is terrible and that the terrible things are only another method by which the Holy One afflicts them for their sins.” Excerpt From On […]

The Cornerstone – Psalm 118 reconsidered

Yesterday I was reading the morning office and Ps. 118:22, one of the most familiar passages in the psalms to Christians, struck me differently. 17I shall not die, but live, * and declare the works of the LORD. 18The LORD has punished me sorely, * but he did not hand me over to death. 19Open for me the gates of righteousness; * I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the LORD. 20“This is […]