When bad things happen
Our reflection today comes from David Jones (St. Benedict’s Gyffin). He wrote in “I have been wrestling with many thoughts over COVID-19 and what our reaction should be” – and we are so pleased he felt able to share them here! He sets himself a tall order: to ponder the questions of where God is in suffering, and how He can allow it to happen.
It is truly a privilege and joy to collate all the tremendous correspondence that is now arriving, so we can share as an online community. Today’s offering shows we need not duck the thorny issues of life. This is how we are learning and growing – and we’re doing it together.
Duw wnaeth greu popeth, a fe sy’n cynnal popeth, felly mae’n berffaith iawn iddo adael i lawer o feibion a merched rannu ei ysblander. Drwy i Iesu ddioddef, roedd Duw yn ei wneud e’n arweinydd perffaith i’w hachub nhw.
Hebreaid 2: 10
It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Hebrews 2: 10
We ask, why does God allow suffering? C. S. Lewis wrote in The Problem of Pain that suffering is not a sufficient reason to reject a belief in a good God. As mere humans, how can we understand what is God’s ‘Big Picture’? If we believe God is wiser than us, his judgments and plans must also be wiser and differ from ours on every level. It is no accident that we are called His children, for we like Corinthians 13: 11: ‘as a child I thought like a child’. My personal belief is that I will not understand ‘as a man’ until all is revealed in the next life. God trying to explain to us why the universe is the way it is would feel like a physicist explaining String Theory to an amoeba, or more colourfully like teaching a pig to sing – a pointless and frustrating exercise for both parties!
So where is God? Philip Yancey in his book When Life Hurts said there are two expressions of God’s concern for us, everywhere. The first is the response of Jesus to pain. The other involves us all as Christians. Jesus in His ministry spent much of His short life among the despised, the ill and the suffering. He wept tears of anguish on hearing of the death of his friend Lazarus. When asked, He never refused to reach out and heal the afflicted. Any doubts about God’s view of pain on earth is filtered through the lens of Jesus as God and man reaching out and healing. Yet, not only did Jesus reach out to us, but also as God He took on the pain Himself. The fact that Jesus came, suffered and died does not reduce nor take away the pain in our lives, nor does it guarantee that we will always feel comforted. But it shows that God did not sit by and watch us suffer alone.
We pray ‘Thy will be done’ for God’s will is health not disease, giving and not taking, love not hate, creation not destruction. In Gethsemane, Jesus does not explain the mystery of suffering nor does He treat it with indifference, but leads us through faith and how to accept the will of God. It’s not a problem, it’s a mystery in which we are invited to join.
yn dy Fab Iesu Grist
rhoddaist inni wir ffydd a gobaith diogel.
Cryfha ynom y ffydd a’r gobaith hwn
holl ddyddiau ein bywyd
fel y bo inni fyw fel rhai
sydd yn credu. Amen.
in your Son Jesus Christ
you have given us a true faith and a sure hope.
Strengthen this faith and hope in us all our days
that we may live
as those who believe. Amen.
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