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Three QuestionsMargaret ManningThere are certain questions I come to expect now. After almost 10 years inministry, there is only slight variation on wording or turn of phrase. Idon't even have to guess what might be asked of me anymore, for I know thequestions before they are even asked. Is there a God? Does God care aboutme? If so, why does God allow suffering?For many, these questions are intellectual pursuits that need to beanswered for constructing a sound apologetic. For others, however, thequestions come from the deepest places of the heart. They come because ofpersonal experience with suffering of one form or another. When thefervent prayers of righteous men and women do not prevent the cancer fromspreading, or the child from dying, or the plane from crashing, or themarriage from failing, the questions come like water bursting through thedam. Is God really there? Does God even care? If God cares about me,then why doesn't God do something about the pain?Unfortunately, these questions are not unique to my ministry or mygeneration. They have been asked for millennia. The technical term forthe problem of suffering is called theodicy. Theodicy is a wordinvented in the seventeenth century by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, one ofthe great intellectual thinkers of the Enlightenment period.(1) Theodicyattempts to explain how and why there can be suffering in the world if Godis all-powerful and loving. In trying to solve this problem, some thinkershave denied the omnipotence of God; God is all-loving, but not able to doanything about suffering. Others dispense of the notion that God isall-loving, at least in any conventional understanding. But if God is notlove, then God is not God. Yet beyond the intellectual wrangling over this problem, the experience ofsuffering in light of both the goodness and power of God has caused many todoubt God, and others to walk away from faith altogether. If God does notprevent suffering, and if God does not care about the sufferer, then Goddoes not exist in any meaningful way.The writers of Scripture wrestled with these questions too. Often, theyprovided different ways of answering these questions. Some believed thatsuffering resulted from sin. Others believed that God causes sufferingas a form of punishment. Still others asserted that suffering bringsredemption.(2)In Mark's gospel, a simple story about a boat caught in a terrible stormprovides an altogether different answer framed around three questions. When evening had come, Jesus and his disciples got into a boat, mostlikely on the Sea of Galilee, in order to "go over to the other side"(Mark 4:35-41). In the course of their travel, a fierce storm arosesuddenly and violently. It was so intense that the waves were not onlybreaking over the boat, but the boat was filling with water and on theverge of sinking. Jesus, asleep in the stern of the boat, Mark tells us,was resting soundly when the disciples roused him with their fearful,first question: "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" Jesusdoesn't answer their question, but instead answers the wind and the waves,"Peace, be still." His exhortation to the natural elements of wind andwater was nevertheless intended for the disciples as well, for he returnstheir question with a second question: "Why are you afraid? Have you nofaith?" To which the disciples reply to one another with the ultimatequestion, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"For some reason, we think that because Jesus is in the boat with us,suffering will not come our way. But suffering does come, and the windroars around us and the sky turns black, and the storm of all stormsappears to envelop us in darkness and terror. Jesus, don't you carethat we are perishing becomes an incredulous statement because wethink as Christians we are somehow immune from the troubles of life. ButJesus's answer reminds us that faith does not insulate us from life'sstorms. Indeed, as Craig Barnes has written "Faith...has little to dowith our doctrines or even with our belief that Jesus could come up with amiracle if he would only pay attention. Faith has everything to do withseeing that we have the Savior on board"(3) In the midst of our questions about suffering, there is Jesus in the stormof doubt, in the tempest of despair, in the gale of defeat, resting calmlyin the assurance of God's care in the storm. His presence with thedisciples in the storm tells us more about who he is--neither removed fromsuffering, nor always preventing suffering--then why we suffer. Afterall, that's the more important question to answer: "Who then is this,that even the wind and the sea obey him?" And like the disciples, we too can be filled with awe and wonder at theGod "of all creation who does not explain everything and ismysterious--too mysterious to fit our formulas for better living...and whobrings mystery into our lives because we do not know how God willintervene."(4) As you ask your questions, may you also hear his answer:"Peace, be still." Margaret Manning is associate writer at Ravi Zacharias InternationalMinistries in Atlanta, Georgia.(1) Bart Ehrman, God's Problem (New York: HarperOne, 2008), 8.(2) See for examples Proverbs 3:33, "The Lord's curse is on the house ofthe wicked, but he blesses the abode of the righteous"; Amos 4:1-3, "[Y]oucows of Bashan who oppress the poor, who crush the needy...the Lord God hassworn in his holiness: the time is surely coming upon you, when they shalltake you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks"; and Isaiah53, the suffering Servant.(3) M. Craig Barnes, When God Interrupts (Downers Grove, IL:InterVarsity Press, 1996), 138.(4) Ibid., 135, 139.------------------------------------------------------------------- Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words ofchallenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others whowould enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,tell them they can sign up on our website athttp://www.rzim.org/slice/slice.php. If they do not have access to theWorld Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).
December 22, 1808In a 4-hour long concert, German composer Ludwig van Beethovenpremiered some of his most famous compositions, including the Fifthand Sixth Symphonies, in Vienna. The length of the concert and thecold weather, however, prevented the audience from fully appreciatingthe exquisite classical music.
Для бога не послал его сынку в мир для того чтобы засудить мир, но то мир до он мощь было сохранено. Он верит в ем не засужен; но он не верит засужен уже, потому что он не верил in the name of единственный порожденный сынок бога.
No one has made more money from climate change hype than Gore. According to the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, just one of the "green" companies in which Gore has invested has received over half a billion dollars in subsidies from the Energy Department.
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