Lee Strobel is a former journalist who didn’t believe in God until he launched his own personal investigation to attempt to disprove God’s existence. Strobel’s research led him to the opposite conclusion. The experience was chronicled and eventually turned into a book titled, The Case for a Creator. It has since sold millions of copies. He later became a pastor and has been a frequent guest on our radio program.
This past Sunday Lee preached a powerful sermon at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Cherry Hills is a wonderful congregation and is located approximately 20 miles from Friday’s horrific movie theater shooting.
Lee tackled one of the toughest of all questions for a Christian:
Why does God allow tragedy and suffering?
I want to share just a portion of what he said. Regardless of how far removed from this particular tragedy you may be, the topic is relevant to your life. Jesus made it quite clear that struggle is a part of every person’s journey. In fact, He couldn’t have been more blunt when He said, “You will have suffering in this world” (John 16:33).
Here is a small portion of what Lee had to say. In essence, he’s giving reasons why God allows suffering:
God’s ultimate answer to suffering isn’t an explanation; it’s the incarnation. Suffering is a personal problem; it demands a personal response. And God isn’t some distant, detached, and disinterested deity; He entered into our world and personally experienced our pain. Jesus is there in the lowest places of our lives.
Are you broken?
He was broken, like bread, for us.
Are you despised? He was despised and rejected of men.
Do you cry out that you can’t take any more?
He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
Did someone betray you? He was sold out.
Are your most tender relationships broken? He loved and He was rejected.
Did people turn from you? They hid their faces from Him as if He were a leper. Does He descend into all of our hells? Yes, He does. From the depths of a Nazi death camp, Corrie ten Boom wrote these words: “No matter how deep our darkness, He is deeper still.”
Every tear we shed becomes His tear.
It’s not just that God knows and sympathizes with you in your troubles. After all, any close friend can do that. Any close friend can sit beside you and comfort you and empathize with you. No, Jesus is much closer than your closest friend. Because if you’ve put your trust in Him, then He is in you. And, therefore, your sufferings are His sufferings; your sorrow is His sorrow.
So when tragedy strikes, as it will; when suffering comes, as it will; when you’re wrestling with pain, as you will – and when you make the choice to run into His arms, here’s what you’re going to discover:
You’ll find peace to deal with the present, you’ll find courage to deal with your future, and you’ll find the incredible promise of eternal life in heaven.