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.