For years, I was an atheist, unwilling to believe in or do homage to a God who would allow suffering by the innocent.
My view was a direct result of the abuse I had endured, and the suffering of all kinds I saw around me. I could not reconcile a good and just God with the many injustices in the world. Faith was a fool’s game.
The Bible’s Book of Job, in particular, revealed the merciless nature of God. So I thought. A devout man is caused to lose his property, his children, and his health. All to demonstrate that his faith in God is not a response to good fortune alone.
I saw the God who would allow this as sadistic. I viewed the Book of Job as an obscenity, and rejected the propositions it put forward. For a long while, I preferred to rage.
When I found the law as a profession, it felt as if a sword had been placed into my hand.
But the Book of Job is a profound study in suffering. It makes the point that God is God. We are merely His creation, dearly though He loves us.
In the end, I came to recognize that we cannot substitute our sense of justice for God’s. We do not have His perspective. We cannot see the end from the beginning.
Christians do not always know why suffering takes place. Ours is a broken world, not the paradise we might wish.
Christians do, however, know the true character of God. He truly is holy, good, just, and merciful. He and only He is the God who suffered as we suffer, even dying for our sakes. Amid the severest of trials, He somehow sustains us. And we have His promise that He will use all things somehow for good.
That promise cannot be applied simplistically. No Christian would contend that good can come to a child from sexual molestation, torture, or neglect. Continue reading