An age-old question

February 11, 2011/God

Thursday a group of ladies I was with was talking about the struggle we all have understanding how God allows suffering, especially the suffering of children.

The concept that a God who claims to be love, not just claim to have loving thoughts or actions, but actually BE love, how can He turn a blind-eye to the plight of so many? We are quick to hold our fists to the sky and ask Him who the heck He really thinks He is… this question is valid.
God wired us to be compassionate.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying, “Be careful when pointing fingers because there’s four fingers pointing back at you.” Nothing brings this more to light than the plight of the world’s poor.
Francis Chan so eloquently points the fingers at us in his book Crazy Love by pointing out that our loving God calls us to a life of love in action. I think I shared this before but it is worth looking at again. Chan says:
“Giving that is not motivated by love is worth nothing. Paul says from this kind of giving we ‘gain nothing’; however, when we give out of love, we gain much. Giving results not only in heavenly compensation, but also gives us great joy in our lives here and now. As we love more genuinely and deeply, giving becomes the obvious and natural response. Taking and keeping for ourselves becomes unattractive and imprudent.
Remember the story where Jesus fed thousands of people with one boy’s small lunch? In that story, according to Matthew, Jesus gave the loaves to His disciples and then the disciples passed them out to the crowd. Imagine if the disciples had simply held onto the food Jesus gave them, continually thanking Him for providing lunch for them. That would’ve been stupid when there was enough food to feed the thousands who were gathered and hungry.
But that is exactly what we do when we fail to give freely and joyfully. We are loaded down with too many good things, more than we could ever need, while others are desperate for a small loaf. The good things we cling to are more than money; we hoard our resources, our gifts, our time, our families, our friends. As we begin to practice regular giving we see how ludicrous it is to hold on to the abundance God has given us and merely repeat the words thank you. ” (empahsis mine)
When I read Chan’s words I think of the statistics I’ve heard regarding the abundance of our earth.
How there is enough food to feed every single soul, but how many go hungry while others throw out food on a regular basis.
How (according to the World Bank) almost half the world lives on $2.50 a day and 80% of those living in developing nations live on less than $10 per day.
I think of Haiti where people would love to have a job, but none available. I don’t mean there isn’t a job that interests them. There is no job.
I think of Mexico and Cuba and the Dominican Republic where people are literally laying their lives on the line to illegally cross borders into countries where there is health care, jobs, and food.
So the question begs…. who exactly is allowing the poor to suffer? Is God the only culprit? Is He really the only one we can blame. Because truth be told, every single person reading this has access to a computer and access to the world wide web. Every person reading this is literate. Something 26% of the adults in the world are not. (And up to 49% in developing countries)
We are the rich of the world.
Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg…. these are the elite, but we are the rich.
We are the reason people are suffering, not God.
God is asking us…. I dare say begging us, to look outside of ourselves. To love our neighbor, to take care of the orphans and the widows, to give to the poor. Never does Jesus command us to take a vacation, plan for retirement, or go shopping to feel better.
Many of us pray on a daily basis thanking God for our blessings… Is it possible we are guilty of hoarding the loaves God wants to feed the world with?
I am a woman of action. Complaining without solving the problem means nothing. Conveniently, there are tons of ways to get involved. I’ve highlighted some here before. Today I want highlight two internet moms who are making a difference.
Kristen (and her husband) over at ‘We are THAT Family’ are starting a home for pregnant women in Africa called The Mercy House. A place women can go for support instead of heading to back alleys for abortions. She is supporting this maternity home from the income of her blog. Support her. Support The Mercy House.
Jody (oh how you know I love Jody) Landers has cofounded an organization called The Adventure Project. It is basically a non-profit dedicated to “ending extreme poverty by supporting the world’s most effective social ventures.” You might remember that she called on us to give to Charity: Water and donate vitamins children in Africa through Word Made Flesh. Her new venture focuses on raising funds to support these and other organizations changing the world.
Even if you don’t support these ladies. Support something. Find your niche. Pray about where God would have you give. It will not only change the others’ lives…. it will change yours.

Comments (3)

  • Anonymous / February 11, 2011 / Reply

    I wish I could have been at that conversation circle, I need encouragement. Yes, you provided some in your post.

    When I have the “what kind of God” question, I answer with “the kind that sends his own son to be crucified, and then I ask myself “so what do you expect from a God like that” Really, He lets his own son die, why would I ever expect anything from a God like that?

  • courageous o'connors / February 14, 2011 / Reply

    i think this was a great post. For one thing, god’s love is like a parental love. i have been giving my dd medicine for her throat this week and she is screaming mad at me and saying how can I give her this—? Why? because I love her. God’s ways are not our ways. His love is difficult to understand sometimes…but it is love.

    i do agree about ppl needing to do God’s work on earth.

    Suffering is allowed to bring about a greater good

  • Courtney / February 15, 2011 / Reply

    loved this post, leighann…

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