Tuesday, January 19, 2010

a theology of suffering

Don't have enough of a bearing on the subject to attempt a narrative. I hope these passages will speak for themselves.

Is He willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is impotent.
Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent.
Is He both willing and able? Whence then is evil?
-David Hume, "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion"

Suffering undoubtedly constitutes the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith. Sensitive spirits must ask whether it can possibly be reconciled with God's goodness and love.
-John Stott, "The Cross of Christ"

About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God."
-Luke 13:1-3 (NLT)

Until we acknowledge painful disappointment in our circumstances and relationships (particularly the latter), we will not pursue Christ with the passion of deep thirst. Or, to put it more simply, we rarely learn to meaningfully depend on God when our lives are comfortable.
-Larry Crabb, "Inside Out"

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
-Isaiah 53:3 (ESV)

Think too of all who suffer as if you shared their pain.
-Hebrews 13:3 (JB Phillips)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."
-Revelation 21:3-5 (NIV/NASB)

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know his love, his heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From his own fullness all he takes away.
-Katharina von Schlegel, "Be Still, My Soul"


  1. Live comfortably, not having to depend too much on God but be lacking in the relationship. Or, welcome suffering so you can understand and enjoy Christ more.

    I know which one I'd prefer. But oh well, it's too bad that life and suffering isn't separable.