Posts Tagged ‘suffering’
A CHRISTIAN BLACKSMITH, whose life was full of suffering and pain, was once challenged by an unbeliever to account for all the suffering God had allowed in his life. His response to the challenge went something like this:
As a blacksmith, I often take a piece of iron and put it into the fire to bring it to a white heat. Then I put it on the anvil and strike it a few times to see if it can be tempered. If I think it can, I plunge it into cold water, suddenly changing the temperature.
I repeat this heating and quenching process several times. Then I put the iron on the anvil and hammer it and bend it. After it cools, I rasp it and file it, turning it into some useful article which will serve for many years. If, however, when I first strike it on the anvil, I see that it cannot be tempered, I throw it onto the scrap pile and sell it for a few pennies.
I believe my God and Father has been testing me to see if I can be tempered. He has repeatedly put me into the fire and into the water. I have tried to bear it patiently and quietly, and my daily prayer has been: ‘Lord, put me into the fire if You will. And put me into the water if You think I need it. Do anything You please, Lord, . . . only . . . don’t throw me onto the scrap pile.’”
The Lord’s testing of us is not only a sign of His preparing us for usefulness, but it is also a sign of His love for us. The Scriptures say, it is “for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness” and “afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:10-11).
It is a solemn thing to find oneself on the scrap pile, and this, because we have refused being tempered. May our prayer be, . . . “Let it not be so, . . . Lord . . . . in my life.”
Excerpts taken from the tract A Blacksmith SpeaksThis article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine january/February 2008
We continue with the apologetics series QUESTIONS SCEPTICS ASK by Rusty Wright. You may have noticed from a previous post that there are differing spellings – sceptic (British English) and skeptic (US English). I asked forgiveness from our friends “across the pond” if, in the interests of consistency, I stuck to the British spelling!
You will be interested to know that I have been in touch with Rusty to let him know we are repurposing his article for this blog, and he has given me the go-ahead to “British-ize” his spelling!
Here is something challenging that Randy said in the full version of his article:
As you interact with skeptics, compliment them where you can. Jesus complimented the skeptical Nathanael for his pursuit of truth. Listen to their concerns. Your listening ear speaks volumes. It may surprise you to learn that your attitude can be just as important as what you know.
Now here is Part 2 of Questions Sceptics Ask.
Rusty responds to the question:
Why is there evil and suffering?
Sigmund Freud called religion an illusion humans invent to satisfy their security needs. To him, a benevolent, all-powerful God seemed incongruent with natural disasters and human evil.
God, though sovereign, gave us freedom to follow him or to disobey him.
Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis estimated that eighty percent of human suffering stems from human choice. Lewis called pain “God’s megaphone” that alerts us to our need for Him.This response does not answer all concerns (because he sometimes does intervene to thwart evil) but suggests that the problem of evil is not as great an intellectual obstacle to belief as some imagine.
Pain’s emotional barrier to belief, however, remains formidable. Jesus understands suffering. He was scorned, beaten, and cruelly executed, carrying the guilt of our rebellion against God (Isa. 53:10).
When I see God, items on my long list of questions for him will include betrayal by trusted co-workers, and all sorts of disappointing human behaviour and natural disasters. Yet in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection I have seen enough to trust him when he says he “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28) .
 John 1:45-47.
 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Macmillan, 1974), 89-103 ff. The Problem of Pain was first published in 1940.
 A short summary of Resurrection evidences is at Rusty Wright and Linda Raney Wright, “Who’s Got the Body?” 1976, www.probe.org/rusty-wright-articles/rusty-wright-articles/whos-got-the-body.html.
 Romans 8:28 NASB.
For more complete treatment of this subject, see Rick Rood, “The Problem of Evil,” 1996, www.probe.org/worldview–philosophy/the-problem-of-evil.html; Dr. Ray Bohlin, “Where Was God on September 11?” 2002, www.probe.org/current-issues/current-issues/where-was-god-on-sept.-11.html .
Tomorrow we’ll continue this series with Rusty’s answer to another question sceptics often ask.
Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. www.RustyWright.com
OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES
Sceptics or Skeptics?– How do you deal with questions and objections to faith that your friends may pose?