Monday, October 1, 2018

A Deeper Understanding Of Christ's Love Through Suffering

Introduction

How can you helplessly watch as a child dies from agonizing cancer? Doesn't the love you feel tell you that that suffering is evil and a God who is all loving and all powerful would rescue that child? How can God be all loving and all powerful if He allows such a child to suffer and die?

This is a challenge that is often raised by atheists to reject the God of the Bible. But today, I am not going to answer the atheist who raises the challenge as an armchair hypothetical that they have never experienced; instead I want to speak to the person who either has experienced this tragedy or is in the middle of it, and it causes them to be skeptical of the goodness and even existence of God.

This Is What Love Feels Like

But could God have a purpose for the pain that you feel? Before I get to that, please watch this tribute to those who have cared for a loved one at the end of their life: This Is What Love Feels Like, by dc Talk, inspired by Toby McKeehan's experience:



Knowing Love Through Suffering

Jesus knew the suffering that would take Him to His physical limits, yet He persisted and conquered: This was His love for you as He suffering the torture of crucifixion. If you have been taken to your limits through the suffering of a loved one, you know this love.

Without the suffering of a loved one, we would not know this love for someone else that takes us to our limits (and live to tell of it), what love truly feels like. Without the suffering of a loved one, we would not have the privilege of getting a trace of understanding of the depth of Christ's love for us that took Him to the end of His physical limits. Caring for a spouse, parent, or child as they leave this world has to be one of the most painful experiences, and we do not escape it unchanged by the suffering it has caused. We are wounded, but we can use those wounds to heal. We can become the wounded healer (see my post "The Wounded Healer: Finding Ultimate Purpose In Your Suffering" for more on this concept). And just as we are alive today to be wounded healers, Jesus conquered death through His bodily resurrection to be the Ultimate Wounded Healer that we point to.

While it is a privilege to experience what this kind of love feels like (though it comes at a great cost, just like it did for Christ), our experience only scratches the surface of the love that Christ has. And our experience is only one person (or maybe a few people in extremely tragic situations) at a time. But Jesus' love, as He suffered death, was not just for you or just for a few people, it was for every person (John 3:16).

Conclusion

We must not forget that our suffering in this life will come to an end. It is finite, and this finite suffering is not worth comparing to the infinite glory that will one day be revealed in us (Romans 8:18) and can be revealed in others to enjoy with us, if we are willing to be used by God to be wounded healers. Do not be discouraged. Our perfect God has a purpose for your suffering. Without Him, your experience is gratuitous pain with no purpose or meaning. But because God exists and Christ is resurrected from the dead, your experience is both purposeful and meaningful. Through your experience, God has blessed you with a deeper understanding of His love for you, and now He gives you the privilege to speak hope, life, love, meaning, and purpose to the brokenhearted suffering and struggling the same as you are.

Recommended Posts for More Hope and Encouragement In Your Time of Pain


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Book Review: Always Be Ready- A Call To Adventurous Faith

Introduction

Astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross is a well-known voice in the scientific and evangelical Christian communities for his scientific defenses of the Christian worldview. Over the last few decades, he has written incredible books powerfully defending the arguments for God's existence from the beginning and design of the universe. A few of my favorites have been:

The Creator and the Cosmos
Why The Universe Is The Way It Is
Improbable Planet

The primary focus of these books (and many of his others) have been on developing the arguments, presenting the evidence, and answering challenges from skeptics for the truth of Christianity. All these books contain pastoral elements that show how nature can be used to discover much about God's character and His purposes for His creation. They all provide Christians with the content to follow Peter's command in 1 Peter 3:15.

"Always Be Ready: A Call To Adventurous Faith" is Dr. Hugh Ross' latest apologetics book. Usually, Dr. Ross' published work focuses on the scientific evidence for the truth of Christianity, but this time he decided to do something different. In this book, he decided to focus on the apologetic influence of the evidences not only in his own life but in the lives of those he's evangelized. In this book, he takes stories from his decades of scientific research, evangelistic efforts, and pastoral experiences to show to the reader the breadth and depth of what Peter's command to "always be ready" means. Speaking primarily from his heart for those who are lost without Christ, Dr. Ross presents an engaging, encouraging, and essential book for those who wish to follow Peter's command to always be ready.

This review will follow my usual chapter-by-chapter format concluding with my thoughts about the book. Because Dr. Ross tells many stories that are most effective told in his own words, I have left out all spoilers. First, though let me start with a short video of Dr. Ross speaking about the book:


Always Be Ready Promo from RTB: MEDIA on Vimeo.

Now, on to the review:

Monday, August 13, 2018

Book Review: The Creator Revealed

Introduction

Today I am excited to bring you a review of a book that I have been anticipating for a little over a year and a half. In January 2017 particle physicist and University of Oklahoma professor Dr. Michael G. Strauss (check out his blog and YouTube channel) and I were talking, and he informed me that he had been working on a book about science and faith for a while. He gave me an overview of the content and even let me in on a sneak peek of the book. After reading through what was already "on paper," I was incredibly excited to see it published. Dr. Strauss' goal with "The Creator Revealed: A Physicist Examines the Big Bang and the Bible" was to provide the scientific, theological, and biblical evidence for the big bang in a non-technical and more conversational tone. The book is relatively short (126 pages, not counting the appendices) compared to other works on this topic, and the seventeen chapters are bite-sized. This review will be my usual chapter-by-chapter summary followed by my thoughts (as if the first line above didn't give you an indication). Before we get to the review, check out this interview with Dr. Strauss about science and faith and his experience with scientists and students:



Now, on to the book review...