Here we are just a few days before Christmas 2012. This is a time when there is usually a magic in the air, an excitement for friends, family and good cheer. Usually, that is the case – but not this year. No, not this year. Something happened, and as a result the giddy joy is gone. We have suffered a great loss. A few short days ago, an unimaginable crime was committed and 27 people, 20 of them 6-and 7-year old children, had their lives taken from them, brutally and without mercy. Today we honor their memory and recognize the pain of their grief-stricken families and friends. Today we also search to find how the hope of the true meaning of Christmas can give us – all of us - strength to cope, strength to stand, and strength to begin to move forward.
It happened just a few short weeks ago, but by now we are almost de-sensitized to the horror. In many ways we can feel like it’s just another story of a senseless killer randomly taking lives. But it’s not – what it is, is a chronicle of a world filled with inequity and evil, in which those who are innocent suffer and die and there are no real answers as to how to stop it. Is there someone to blame? Is it parenting? Is it education? Is it religion? Is it atheism? Is it freedom? Is it guns? Is it easy access to violence? Is it God? How do we begin to put these tragedies into some perspective? Stay with us – there IS an answer!
Losing a loved one, especially a child, can bring unbearable pain and anxiety. It can cause us to question even those things we hold dearest – even the existence and plan of God. We will look into this grief and into God’s plan to try and understand where God is when tragedy strikes.
This was a tragedy. The recent earthquake, just off the coast of northern Japan, was the fifth largest ever recorded in human history. While the quake itself was not terribly damaging, the tsunamis it spawned were another story. From a personal standpoint, I have NEVER seen anything so destructive and powerful as those waves which literally engulfed everything in their path. So, what does all of this mean from a Christian standpoint? Did God make the earth quake – did God send the waves? Could God have stopped this? Stay with us as we consider these difficult and piercing questions.
Haiti is a small country, with 8-9 million as their population. It shares a small island with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is a poor nation, as a matter of fact, it is the poorest nation in the entire Western Hemisphere. This small and poor nation happens to sit atop a major fault line in the Earth’s crust. The recent earthquake in that small and poor nation caused death, destruction and horror the magnitude of which has not even become clear as of yet. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands died and countless hundreds of thousands are homeless, hungry and now subject to the next disasters of the aftermath – disease and starvation. Why? Did this have to happen? Could not the Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, have stopped this disaster and saved all those innocent lives?
No human being wants to see suffering and pain. I think that we all cringe inside when we look upon someone who suffers. We want to take their pain away, we want to help, we want to make it stop. Whether the pain is of their own doing or not, humanity has compassion on those who hurt. Here then rises a very important question. If we are created in the image of God and we have this deep compassion, then why does God NOT seem to have it? And, if God is who we say he is - the Almighty Creator - then why does He not put an end to such things? On this program we will attempt to look at these things squarely and see if we can find a comprehensive and sensible answer to these questions in the Bible. Why does God permit suffering? Stay with us - it is going to be quite a journey!