Inspiration – Yes, our suffering has purpose

Pastor Keith Williams,
High Prairie Bethel Baptist Church

We live in troubled times, don’t we? As I write this there are 3,897 COVID-19 cases in Canada with 37 deaths. And we wait, the world waits, and we wonder what is the purpose and meaning of all this suffering and disease.

As Christians, the hope of eternal life can give our suffering – indeed our entire lives – purpose and meaning. Good does not always triumph over evil in this world. Sometimes the bad guy wins. Tragedies and suffering that have no apparent meaning or reason behind them often comes our way.

Without a clear picture of God dealing out punishments and rewards, it seems there is no right or wrong. No wonder the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “Without God all things are permitted.”

While a few have embraced the denial of all ultimate and purpose, most people live as if there is an objective, eternal right and wrong, and as if some kind of ultimate purpose governs all of history.

But knowing that a god of some kind exists is not enough, to give us hope for tomorrow and a hope of eternal life. “Which god?”

Paul argues for the certainty of Jesus’ resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:13 explains that if there is no resurrection, then even Jesus has not been raised. And if Jesus has not been raised, we have been misrepresenting God, for we have claimed that God raised Him from the dead [verse 15]. In the end, however, if Jesus has not been raised, there is neither resurrection nor judgment, and we night as well do whatever we want [verse 32].

Thankfully, this is not the case. We can be confident that Jesus is alive because of the Old Testament prophecies about Him and the abundant testimony to His resurrection appearances. Jesus’ resurrection proves His claim that judgment day is indeed coming; therefore, our suffering has purpose, and everyone, famous or not, will one day receive mercy or justice.

Knowing that Jesus has been raised from the dead gives us the sure hope of eternal life and the confidence that all wrongs will eventually be righted. We are sure that Jesus has been raised from the dead because of the sure testimony of the Word of God, testimony that is confirmed by the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, the historical witness to the resurrection, and much more. We can trust the sure promises of our trustworthy Creator.

Is the coronavirus God’s judgment? Pastor weighs in on FOX News

It may be a cringe-worthy question, but people of faith tend to explore these queries when disaster strikes and the world is in upheaval. So with global reach of the coronavirus, the question of whether the pandemic is “God’s judgment on a sinful and corrupt world” begs for some attention, and attention from one of the cooler heads in the Christian world.

Noted theologian and best-selling author Dr. Timothy Keller says the answer is nuanced. In other words, it’s both “Yes” and “No”.

According to the Biblical narrative, there’s a brokenness in this world that’s existed since ancient times. Since the fall from Grace – the turning away from God in the Garden of Eden – all the bad stuff we encounter entered the world: disease, death, destruction, murder and a whole list of sins is the reality of the world we live in.

But, says Keller, God is sovereign, which means he’s in control. And His greatest priority is our welfare. But disasters will happen.

“It’s just a way, I do think, for God to try to wake us up and to say, please make sure you’re right with me,” Keller explained. “Please think, think about, you know, where you are. So there’s a sense in which all these kinds of disasters are a judgment, but a judgment that’s not on the people who are suffering.”

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