One cure for modern Evangelicalism

This is Michael Spencer's latest:
When I hear this kind of story, it is almost more than I can take. My faith is small and my tolerance for pain and loss is low. Questions of suffering and loss are not easy for me to contemplate. What would I do? Would God keep me? Would I despair, quit, abandon faith?

And here is Doc. Standing in front of our students, saying again and again that God is good. His suffering and loss can’t be measured, but his faith has grown every step of the way. In his gentle, Minnesota accent, he says over and over, “God is good. I’m so thankful.”

What is a testimony like Doc’s worth in this world? Maybe nothing to some. Maybe a priceless amount to others. I do not know. What I do know is that Doc is untroubled by the problem of evil. He is untroubled by the questions of theodicy. He doesn’t know the answers of the philosophers. If he has thought about the objections of the atheists, it was long ago. He isn’t a Calvinist and he won’t be lecturing on the comforts of various theories of God’s Will. He’s simple. He is, today, a grateful man.

Doc is the work of God in a world of absurd suffering. Whatever has been taken from him has not left him empty and bitter. He is full of the love of God, and bitterness is nowhere to be seen or heard.

He ended his talk by saying that where the human eye sees half a man, God sees a whole person. Made whole by Christ.
When we come to the conclusion that our lives do not belong to us, that they belong to God, then our lives have purpose, no matter the suffering we go through.

Suffering is part of the human condition. Our sin has warped our world. Yet suffering dwells more on some than others. God's sovereign choice? Certainly, but he is not to blame for evil.

A misunderstanding of suffering has plagued the history of the church. In the 2nd century and beyond, the church gloried in suffering to the point where those who did not suffer were missing out on God's blessings. More recently, the "Health and Wealth" teachers have argued that, since "by his stripes we are healed" (a misunderstanding of Isaiah 53.5), Christians can therefore lead a healthy, happy life free from suffering - but only if they lead empowered Godly lives full of faith. Christians should neither glorify suffering nor glorify health as something "special" that God is doing for the "elite elect" (and not just for the "ordinary elect").

Our attitude should be simple - whether in sickness or in health, we should be grateful to God for everything.

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