Saturday, September 24, 2005

Backwards Theology

Last week at our church Bible study, someone brought up the question of why God allows suffering, especially since non-believers often use it as a reason to doubt His existence. When ensued was about 1/2 hour of people giving pat answers to why God allows it. Everyone meant well, but it's not the kind of thing you can solve in sitcom time.

Our leader, who is a friend of mine, ended the discussion by saying something I have been turning over in my mind since then: We cannot look at our circumstances to tell us who God is. We have to look at the cross, look at the Bible, look at God, to see who God is. Then, we let God tell us about our circumstances.

Now that might seem blatantly obvious, but in examining my own life, I can seen how often I make judgments about God based on what is happening around me. We all do. We say, "How can God allow hurricanes to cause such devastation? How can He let children die and people get cancer and a million other tragedies . . .?" And our conclusion then, "He must not be good." It's so backwards. We need to look at our circumstances through the filter of who He is, not the other way around. We start with the truth that God is good, and that He works all things for the good of those who love Him. I'm not saying that when we do that, everthing magically makes sense, but from my experience, I see things in a totally different light.

Anyway, just something I've been mulling over. It's late here and time for bed. Hopefully when I read this in the morning, it will be as coherent as it seems now.

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