How many times do we complain about pain? How much do we regret having to suffer about anything? Countless times. How many times do we appreciate these times of sorrow? Rarely. This is because we lack the full understanding of the meaning of pain. Some people claim that pain is the proof of God’s nonexistence. In a shallow mind, I think, this makes perfect sense. But if you go deeper in pondering about the meaning of circumstances in life, then pain develops a different, unusual purpose. In actuality, pain proves the existence of God. Let me explain. Using a more practical example, doctors use symptoms to determine an accurate diagnosis and treat the disease or disability effectively. These symptoms often include pain. When we have a headache, fever, or other similar “sufferings”, it is a way for our bodies to say something is wrong and requires attention. In the same way, when our bills are too high, when our loved ones distant from us, when we lose our jobs, something needs to be done. In a deeper sense, when we suffer diseases, low self esteem, and depression, we need to reconsider the way we are living and make a change. And, I believe, all the times this requires bringing people together, either doctors, counselors, friends, and family. The closer we are, the better we are off. We have been created to support each other, not to be isolated. How do we do that? Jesus taught us how to do that when he said “Love one another as I have loved you” in John 15:12, and in Mathew 5 he introduced to us how to live the Kingdom of Heaven which is directly related to how to live with others. Paul confirms this in his letter to Ephesians, chapter 5:21 by saying “Submit to one another”. This is not just another Bible study about “love”, it is an invitation to view how pain can help us to bring us all together again. When crisis comes, people tend to seek for help. This is what God wants us to do. This is how it is done in Heaven. When we are content and everything goes our way, we tend to be self centered, isolated, and greedy. Admit it. But when our security is shaken, our self serving tendencies and pride are dropped because we are exending our arms out reaching for help. It unites us. Pain is Good.
Monthly Archives: September 2009
Why Did God Allow Evil?
When we raise children, we desire them to do good, but we realize they may turn out to be bad. So what do we do? Chain them to their beds or lock them in a closet to insure they stay out of mischief? That would be barbaric,
In the same way, God has dignified man by giving him choices. He’s gifted him with the privilege of making his own decisions. Man’s choice to do good, to live in conformity with God’s desires, is only meaningful if there is an alternate choice to do evil. God won’t chain man to the bed or lock him in a closet. That would be cruel.
©1999 Gregory Koukl. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only.
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Where is my spiritual life going at this moment? Am I drifting away from God? Who is God? I have to be honest and ask this question plain blank. How can I develop a deeper relationship with God?
I have been reading the gospel of Matthew more closely, and have realized that Jesus was focusing on being merciful, compassionate, and kind to other, not that I did not know this about Jesus, but it has a more profound and powerful meaning to this mercy and compassion that Jesus taught. I have learned to call it, like Jesus called it, the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (OR KIGDOM OF GOD).
Jesus mentioned it many times and even used parables to try to explain it further. When I read these teachings now with the new perspective, which is introduced in Matthew chapter 5 , everything else makes more sense. For example, Jesus kept talking about being humble (Mt. 5: 3-5), just (treat everyone the same, Mt. 5: 6), merciful (Mt. 5:7), forgiving (Mt. 5: 8), peaceful (Mt. 5:9), and withstand persecution because of these characteristics (Mt. 5: 10-11), each having its own reward. He stress on honesty and transparency (Mt. 23), and pleasing God without showing off to people (Mt. 6:1-18). He warned us about being hypocrites , worrying about the external appearance and material desires (Mt. 6:25-34), being vindictive, judgmental (Mt. 7:1- 6), and being mean to others who are merciful and practice the Kingdom of Heaven (Mt. 18: 1-9). He uses both kind and harsh words to stress the importance of what I have called the “Characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven”. I have learned that Jesus wants us to act on earth as God wants us to act, the same way people act in Heaven. God wants us to treat each other the way God wants us to treat each other. I know this might sound “cheesy” and old, but I truly tell you that my perspective on this is more profound and meaningful, more that before. It is hard to express what I am feeling about this, but I am doing my best, I guess the same way that Jesus tried to express the characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven, which is probably why he used parables, or earthly examples, to explain the spiritual, to explain the behavior and characteristics that God wants us to adopt. But Jesus was clear on how difficult this will be, because it is not a matter of just dropping everything you do and helping others suddenly. This is probably why Jesus stated “Love each other as (the same way) you love yourself”, not “Love each other more than yourself”. He admitted that this transformation from the earthly, selfish way of life to a heavenly, selfless way of life is no easy task, but this sacrifice is smaller that the sacrifice of having to please ourselves and showing off to others (Mt. 11:22-30). This is just an introduction of what I have been learning lately. Thank you.
I was raised as a devoted Christian , in the Roman Catholic Church, which was like a spiritual Ice Age. But my life started “melting” when I transferred to a Pentecostal church, where I had a deeper sense of the meaning of God, the Bible, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. After almost 10 years of actively working in the church, I came to a conclusion that what I was doing was mere tradition and duty, but not a profound relationship with God. I thought I had it all figured out, but the presence of God in my life has been superficial. I have been disillusioned many times by the acts of man in the church, to the point that I have felt embarrassed to even be called a Christian. But I strongly believe that God is greater than what I have experienced so far. I have been looking at my life in a different way now. I started attending a new church a year or so ago, but still struggle with having a true relationship with God, particularly Jesus. I have written a log full of experiences, both good and bad, close and far from God, but always struggling in my faith. I have learned that this is normal in the Christian life. But I want more. More than just going to church and reading the Bible once in a while. I want to give it all, but to feel the urgency and the passion first. I have learned lately that Jesus probably meant something more than just be nice to one another and spread the Good News. I want to experience the true meaning of His teachings. I want to get out of my comfort zone and “be born again” in a genuine way, not in ways that others tell me to. I want to live the Kingdom of Heaven the way Jesus meant. Do you know what I mean?