Thursday, November 28, 2013

a thought that didn't make it into yesterday's post

Yesterday's post was a doozy (now there's a word spell check doesn't know - apparently it should be d oozy).

It was hard to think through, hard to write, hard to pull together into something readable and not completely yawn inducing. And I'm still not sure I succeeded at that (no, I'm not looking for reassurance).

Anyhow, I cut a paragraph out (below). Interesting thoughts, but the post was already too long, and I wasn't sure if
  • anyone else was asking the questions I was 
  • I was on the right track
  • any readers I still had would be lost in my mental tangle.

Here's the paragraph that didn't make it in. If you're interested, it belongs in yesterday's post after the second paragraph.

When the Bible doesn't give the guarantee you want, other Christians might. Perhaps they suggest God will heal you if you have enough faith, or (more subtly) if you pray the right kind of prayer. And then there are Christian truisms that promise a limit to pain: "God will only give us as much suffering as is necessary." There's something true and good about this statement. As one man put it, "God is too kind to cause us unnecessary pain."1 But necessary for what? To help us grow? That's what I've always assumed; but it's not in the Bible. Wouldn't this mean that the godliest Christians would suffer less, because they don't need to grow as much? (Jesus won't allow this - see Luke 13:1-5.) Aren't there other reasons for suffering besides my personal growth? (Yes, like God's glory, or to fit us for service - look at John 9:1-3 and 2 Cor 1:3-5.)

Happy to hear your thoughts on the whole "God doesn't cause more pain than is necessary" thing. Just click here and comment away.

1. Paul Mallard, Invest your suffering, 48.


Ruth Chapman said...

Hi Jean, I think that mostly we are focused on the purpose of suffering for us, what it is meant to achieve in us, instead of understanding the purpose of our lives/suffering from God's perspective. As you have said God wants us to endure, to keep trusting him what ever comes. Our lives are meant to glorify Him and suffering provides the opportunity to demonstrate that, even though we are hurting we are still trusting God;his heart and purpose for us and others,His right to do as He pleases with us. The conversation between Satan and God about Job comes to mind.

Jean said...

Hi Ruth, Yes, I think you're right: the issue is not so much with the statement as with us individualising it. (And perhaps even the impetus behind the statement is individualistic too - or at least deeply personal.)