How Not to Comfort the Hurting

In part two of our series, Grace in Hard Times, we take a look at the conversation among Job and his friends as they wrestle with the awful tragedies that have befallen him.  Their attempts at comforting gradually transform into attempts at condemning him when he won’t play ball with their notions of how the world works.  Along the way, we learn an important lesson on how to approach getting our minds around the hard times we face.  Keep reading to find out what it is.

 

How Not to Comfort the Hurting

Have you ever been sure you were right…until you learned you weren’t?  Tell me if you’ve been here before.  One day we were getting ready to go to the pool and I had asked Noah to go to the garage to get something for us to take.  We weren’t planning on making it a long trip and so to the boys’ disappointment we pretty severely limited the number of toys they were going to be able to take. Read the rest…

What to Do When the Wheels Fall Off

Evil is present everywhere in our world.  We can’t escape it.  We can only try and deal with the aftermath.  This fact has long seemed deeply at odds with the idea of a good and loving God.  The problem of evil is one of the thorniest challenges that has long seemed a roadblock to the Christian faith.  In this new series, Grace in Hard Times, with the help of the book of Job, we are going to examine through the context of this epic story one powerful answer to the problem.  In this first part of the conversation, we start with a bit of perspective.

 

What to Do When the Wheels Fall Off

A few years ago the news came out that Elizabeth Elliot had passed away at age 88.  Elliot had been serving the Lord in various capacities for nearly her entire life.  What she is perhaps best known for, though, is having been married for a short time to Jim Elliot.  Jim was every bit as dedicated a servant of the Lord as Elizabeth was, but his story did not end in the same way hers did.  In 1955, Jim and four other missionaries, including Nate Saint, were attempting to make contact with the Huaorani tribe deep in the jungles of Ecuador.  After making several initial peace offerings by lowering gifts in a bucket from their plane, the pair finally decided it was time to make personal contact with the tribe.  On the morning of January 3, 1956, they landed and met with some of the tribe members for the first time.  They were received with excitement and it was looking like things were going to go smoothly.  This road for the advance of the Gospel was appearing most promising.  But just five days later everything fell apart.  When the tribe warriors came out of the woods that morning to the Amazonian beach the missionaries were using as a landing strip and campsite, they did not come for peace.  They came to shut down this outsider intrusion into their private lives.  Nate, Jim, and the three other men with them were murdered in cold blood, speared to death by the Huaorani warriors.  They each left behind a wife and a total of 10 kids among them.  These five men had committed their lives to serving Jesus and advancing the Gospel regardless of the costs.  They were selflessly committed to this goal and yet this was their end. Read the rest…

An Absentee God

In this second-to-last part of our series, Reasons to Believe, we tackled what is perhaps the stiffest challenge to the Christian faith ever recorded: The problem of evil.  How do we who confess our belief in a God who is good account for all the evil in the world?  That’s perhaps a bigger question than we could answer over the course of a single sermon.  What we can do is talk about how to respond to those who are struggling with it personally.  That is exactly what we wrestled with in this message.  Keep reading to see what we discovered.

An Absentee God

I read a story a couple of weeks ago about a serial killer in Russia.  The man was convicted in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison for raping and murdering 22 women.  Recently he confessed to additional murders for which he had not been previously convicted.  Fifty-nine additional murders to be precise.  If you’re into math, that makes 81 people—mostly women—whom this monster raped, likely tortured, and murdered.  He was a police officer the whole time.  When he was off-duty, he would offer to give young women walking on the side of the road a lift home.  Over a span of more than twenty years, eighty-one times somebody’s daughter disappeared without any apparent trace.  Let’s just go ahead and ask the hard question: How, in a world presided over by a God whose goodness is affirmed over and over again by billions of His followers, is something like this allowed to go on for so long without recourse? Read the rest…

Morning Musings: 2 Corinthians 1:9

“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death.  But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

One of the questions that has haunted humans since sin entered into the world is why bad things happen.  How do we reconcile the presence of evil in the world with our innate sense that the world was designed to be good?  For those who have heard the Christian claims of a God who is perfectly loving and all-powerful at one and the same time this challenge becomes even more acute.   Read the rest…