News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Rev. Terry Greer

God's answer to human suffering: We are not alone

I have thought a great deal lately about the suffering that we are seeing and hearing on the world scene.

I have had questions from among my church membership and from people in the community.

"Why do horrible things happen?" they ask. "Why do good people suffer? Why are the innocent victimized?"

The recent tsunamis, wars in several countries, the war on terror in our country, natural disasters and such crimes as the abductions of children almost weekly raise these questions.

I certainly would not presume to know the full answer to the problem of human suffering. It is without a doubt one of life's great mysteries. It is a problem so deep, so profound, so wrapped around with holy awe that from the beginning of time people have pelted heaven with their prayers asking, "Why?"

The late pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick suggested that these things happen because "we live in a world of dependable natural laws; we live in a world that is wracked with growing pains, we live in a world of risky relationships and, we live in a world of freedom of choice."

I agree with Dr. Fosdick on these points. As Jesus said, the rain falls "on the just and unjust." (Matthew 5:45)

When we think about all of the suffering in the world, something else needs to be said, and that is the good news of our faith.

We are not alone.

God is with us, enabling us to turn our defeats into victories and our sorrows into triumphs. We can trust God. We do not have to be afraid because nothing can separate us from God and his love.

My friends, God does not speak to us from an easy chair. He speaks to us from a cross as one who endured the worst suffering this world can dish out and was victorious over it. Leslie Weatherhead said, "The cross felt like defeat to Jesus and looked like defeat to the world. Yet it was God's greatest victory!"

This is the good news of Christianity. No matter how many painful events come our way, no matter how many "Good Fridays" come our way, they are always followed by the resurrection.

Thanks be to God for His presence with us and with those who suffer. We remember them all in our prayers.

The Rev. Terry Greer, senior pastor of Decatur First United Methodist Church, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for THE DAILY. For more information, call Melanie Smith at 340-2468 on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Rev. Terry Greer Rev. Terry Greer

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