Michael Patton at Parchment and Pen has posted an email from one of his readers, who is struggling with the question of suffering, and whether God is there. My comment ended up being too long to post, so I’m posting it here.
First, I would encourage
anyone struggling with suffering anyone who may struggle with suffering anyone to listen to D.A. Carson’s two sermons On Evil and Suffering (pt 1, pt 2). (I just found online notes on both the first and the second sermons.) I think his insights are very helpful for learning to think “Christianly” about suffering–in the way that sustains you in very hard times. (Note: One point he makes is that it’s important to think about these things before we encounter suffering–it’s much harder to process these things when you’re in the midst of it.)
Second, you (the writer of the email) said:
I found it ironic that your biography page on the Parchment and Pen blog lists “A Mighty Fortress” as, apparently, a song that you like. I’ve reached the point where I just can’t sing that song, because it feels so false. I used to think that God would essentially protect his children from any major suffering, but I now realize that that is not true.
I agree; it is not true that God will protect his children from any major suffering. If you have been taught to expect that God would, that’s not good. I don’t think that is what God has promised us.