CBN.com Where is God
during tragedies like the tsunami of 2004 in Asia or Hurricane
Katrina in the United States? Recent events have left many people
asking this question. In their new book, God is in the Hard
Stuff, authors Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz show readers where
to turn when the going gets rough -- to the God who cares about
every difficulty they face. Based in the timeless truths of scripture,
drawing upon life experiences of people who've navigated the dark
valleys, God Is in the Hard Stuff offers inspiration
and hope. Read an excerpt below.
Chapter Two: Innocent Suffering
Of all the types of suffering
we see in the world, the most difficult to understand is the
suffering of the innocent—in particular, innocent children.
When the devastating tsunami of 2004 took scores of thousands
of lives, it was hard to comprehend the magnitude of such an enormous
After a while, the images blurred together, leaving many of us
numb and unable to show emotion.
Then, perhaps, you saw a photo of a father clutching the
lifeless body of his child. You observed the child, but your eyes
fixed on the contorted face of the parent—and in an instant
a knot formed in your stomach. You hurt for this family and countless
others you will never know, but somehow identify with. You are
not related, yet you are connected by the common bond of humanity.
You can’t help but feel a sense of helplessness when such
disasters occur. Because they originate with this planet we call
home, we all feel the sting when the earth convulses. And we wonder:
Can we trust this life-giving sphere that is usually so good to
us? It all seems rather capricious, especially when those who
are least able to handle the terrestrial blast of earthquakes,
typhoons, and floods are often hit the hardest.
How do we deal with this kind of suffering? What are our
options? We can believe that nature has run amok and out of God’s
control. Or we can believe that nature is all there is, with no
God to care or wield any authoritative restraint. Those are the
options of people who have given up on God. They aren’t
very comforting, are they? If nature is the beginning and the
end of all things, and if we are merely pawns in a mindless game
of chance and natural selection (it’s survival of the fittest,
you know), there is no need to wonder why we suffer—because
there is no explanation.
People who still hold to a belief in some kind of God—
and most of the world operates this way—look beyond nature
for answers. Even in this realm of belief, there are multiple
views. One is that God is using nature to inflict punishment on
His wayward created beings. He did it once—remember the
Great Flood?—and He can do it again. Ah, but there’s
the rainbow, God’s promise to humankind that He will never
inflict such worldwide harm again:
“I will never again curse the earth, destroying all
things, even though people’s thoughts and actions are bent
toward evil from childhood. As long as the earth remains,
there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter
and summer, day and night.” GENESIS 8:21–22
We must look elsewhere for some kind of explanation, though
none can be found to satisfy everyone. Perhaps a partial answer
is found in the New Testament. In his letter to the first-century
Roman church, the apostle Paul wrote:
All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s
children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For
we know that all creation has been groaning as in the
pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
Even creation is under the weight of sin and suffering, brought
into this world by rebellious acts of the people God made. It
isn’t that God has lost control; He is merely allowing His
creation to operate in the physical world He made for us, functioning
superbly and incredibly 99.9 percent of the time. Occasionally,
though, it groans from the contractions that will someday result
in a new heaven and a new earth.
Meanwhile, we must also groan—with compassion—for
affected by Earth’s sometimes unexplainable behavior. If
we are to find meaning in any of this, we should find it in the
help we can give to those who suffer.
...In The Hard Stuff
• People without God are people without hope.
• This world is an imperfect place, but it is the
best of all possible worlds.
• God has taken extraordinary measures to
provide a comfortable and beneficial place for
us to live.
• God does not cause suffering, but He allows
it to happen for reasons we don’t always
• Never allow your own comfort to keep you
from giving comfort to others.
Read an article by the authors: Talking
to Your Children About the Hard Stuff in Life.
Excerpted from God is in the Hard Stuff, by Bruce Bickel
& Stan Jantz, Copyright 2005. Published by Barbour Publishing.
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.
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