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The Fragility of Human Life

posted Sep 16, 2015, 11:19 AM by First Baptist

 

At any point in time, there are several in our church family who are suffering in some way.

 

One may be grieving the death of a loved one. Another may be experiencing severe marital problems, or problems with a rebellious child. Yet another may be dealing with physical pain that at times is overwhelming. The list of possibilities is almost endless.

 

Here is how one author sums it up:

 

“No matter what precautions we take, no matter how well we have put together a good life, no matter how hard we have worked to be healthy, wealthy, comfortable with friends and family, and successful with our career – something will inevitably ruin it. No amount of money, power, and planning can prevent bereavement, dire illness, relationship betrayal, financial disaster, or a host of other troubles from entering your life. Human life is fatally fragile and subject to forces beyond our power to manage. Life is tragic.”

 

One of the main ways a culture helps its members is by helping them deal with suffering & adversity. Unfortunately, our contemporary Western culture may do the worst job of any in doing that. One philosopher writes:

 

“When it comes to suffering, the reigning metaphor of this contemporary secular view is chance misfortune. The sufferer is a victim, under attack from natural forces devoid of intentionality.”

 

Perceiving oneself as victim of senseless suffering often leads to anger & resentment, which typically ends up directed toward God in some manner. The sufferer will ask: How could a good God, a just God, a loving God allow such misery, depravity, pain and anguish?

 

However, more than any other belief system, Christianity provides what we need to suffer well. In fact, the early Church fathers used suffering to argue for the superiority of their creed because “Christians suffered better than pagans.”

 

Christianity acknowledges the reality & pain of suffering; it doesn’t deny it. Christianity also acknowledges that suffering is often unfair; it’s usually not something the sufferer brought on him or herself. Finally, and most importantly, Christianity acknowledges there is meaning & purpose in suffering, and if faced rightly, “suffering can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than we can imagine.”

 

CS Lewis famously said: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain.”

 

Pastor Dan

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