EChurch@Wartburg: 07/04/2020: Wade Burleson: Where Is God in the Midst of Our Suffering?

Celestial Fireworks- Eta Carinae-Hubble/NASA

Augustine: Who Has Anything but What You Have Given link

O Lord my God, most merciful,
most secret, most present,
most constant, yet changing all things,
never new, and never old,
always in action, yet always quiet,
creating, upholding, and perfecting all,
who has anything but what you have given?
or what can any man say when he speaks about you?
Yet have mercy on us, O Lord,
that we may speak to you, and praise your Name.

An ancient Collect, A. D. 440

O Lord,
direct our steps this day
into the way of peace,
and strengthen our hearts
to obey your commandments.
May the Dayspring visit us from on high,
and give light
to those who sit in darkness
and the shadow of death,
that they may adore you for your mercy,
follow you for your truth,
desire you for your sweetness,
for you are the blessed Lord God of Israel,
now and forever.

A Prayer by Val Dietrich d. 1549 link

Almighty and eternal God,
by your Son you promised us
the forgiveness of sins,
righteousness and eternal life.
By your Holy Spirit
lead and awaken our hearts
that we daily pray for help in all afflictions,
seek to be near him,
and believing the promise of his Word,
obtain what we pray for,
and at last be saved;
through your Son Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one true God, now and forever.

(One correction in the lyrics-Am I just the *sum* not the *song*)

Isaiah 7:4 NIV

Be careful, keep calm, and don’t be afraid.

Benediction: Romans 15:13 NIV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


EChurch@Wartburg: 07/04/2020: Wade Burleson: Where Is God in the Midst of Our Suffering? — 9 Comments

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    We were waiting for the life-changing moment at the end, however, we can go there with God ourselves, obviously. The vid ended abruptly.

    Note: Francis Schaeffer, back in the day, went further than this talk regarding suffering. He emphasized the first eleven chapters of Genesis. Suffering was never God’s intent, nor His creation. God created all things. However, God allows for free will. As a matter of fact, God sanctions free will and loves freedom of choice. God created man/woman with agency. That’s where suffering came into the world: all was good, now there is a twist as a consequence of sin by Adam & Eve, their bad choices.

    We may suffer natural disasters, never God’s intent & probably nothing to do with our personal choices. (Exception, for example: Noah built an ark, obeyed & avoided a flood.)

    We may suffer evil powers & principalities, never God’s intent & may have nothing to do with our personal choices. (Again, God guided Israel out of Egypt, so He MAY guide us away from disaster if we listen & obey.)

    We may suffer at the hands of others: oppression, racism, misogyny, etc., but it’s never God’s intent & most often nothing to do with our personal choices.

    We suffer the consequences of our own sin, and this is under our control. We can learn our lessons here.

    So most of these have nothing to do with each of us personally, but we are born post-Eden into what was a perfect world, but is now a twisted version of what God created – the defect due to the sin of man/woman.

    Fortunately, God promises to walk us through – this crooked world – together in fellowship. That invitation of fellowship & discipleship with God has nothing to do with suffering, except, of course, that the world will hate us (Jesus warned). Was this God’s intent? No. God doesn’t need suffering to fellowship with us and nurture us, demonstrated by how God created us in the first place.

    Can God use suffering? Yes. Is/Was it God’s intent? No.

    Where this suffering comes from makes all the difference to those enduring.

    The theology that God intends (note – intention, by design, His original plan, or needs it) suffering to be His teaching tool is an insult to those suffering. It seems to be popular among privileged whites, in particular, of the male variety. It puts the burden of what a person is suffering on that individual when it may have NOTHING to do with that person. (1 Peter 2.20)

    (During Covid, we are trying to teach our children good things. However, we don’t need Covid to do that. Nor would we ever wish or intend Covid on anyone. Not wasted but never intentional.)

    Perfect creation → free will → they chose sin → collectively we suffer in different degrees → Savior came → we can choose to walk with God (in whatever degree of suffering life on defective earth brings us) → spend Eternity with God without tears.

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    Ava Aaronson,

    Your words, in one post on this subject, make a lot of sense to me.

    Thank you!

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    Welcome. I appreciate Francis Schaeffer’s teaching on this at l’Abri back in the day, and Wade Burleson’s delving into this subject in his echurch talk. We need to talk about suffering, as a church.

    “… the people who know their God and do great things.” Daniel 11.32b Schaeffer emphasized that most foundational misunderstandings about God can be addressed in those first chapters of Genesis. Understand where this all comes from – it wasn’t God’s idea. Free will, yes.

    “Every maladjustment in life is at root bitterness toward God over suffering.” Ron Dunn, from the talk.

    Bitterness? How about misunderstanding – that Genesis addresses. No need to be “maladjusted” (whatever that means) or “bitter”. This was Schaeffer’s intention with l’Abri – answer kids’ questions about God that weren’t being answered in church – without the shade of “maladjusted” or “bitter”.

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    Ava Aaronson: “Every maladjustment in life is at root bitterness toward God over suffering.” Ron Dunn, from the talk.

    Yes, I did not calibrate with this quote. I heard it a Job’s friends’ advice, excluding Elihu. But also maybe it could fit with Buddhism’s “all suffering is caused by desire”-wanting something better.

    As I was listening I wondered where empathy fit in. I think it fits in, but I didn’t hear where, as I listened.

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    “. . . and in the midst of our perceived deficit
    you come
    you come giving bread in the wilderness
    you come giving children at the 11th hour
    you come giving homes to exiles
    you come giving futures to the shut down
    you come giving easter joy to the dead
    you come – fleshed in Jesus.

    and we watch while
    the blind receive their sight
    the lame walk
    the lepers are cleansed
    the deaf hear
    the dead are raised
    the poor dance and sing

    we watch
    and we take food we did not grow and
    life we did not invent and
    future that is gift and gift and gift and
    families and neighbours who sustain us
    when we did not deserve it.

    It dawns on us – late rather than soon-
    that you “give food in due season
    you open your hand
    and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

    By your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity
    override our presumed deficits
    quiet our anxieties of lack
    transform our perceptual field to see
    the abundance………mercy upon mercy
    blessing upon blessing.. . . . . ”

    Walter Brueggemmann

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    Michael Lewis’ book, “The Undoing Project”, documents the research of Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman (Nobel Prize) and Amos Tversky (research used by the stellar Israeli military). Their theory is that positive encouragement, rather than harsh criticism, is proven to teach far better than negativity. Teachers use this research for improved pedagogy.

    God is not a sadist, neither by intention in creation, nor as a teacher of His children. Free will allowed sin into the world in general, resulting in a chaos of suffering individually & collectively. Jesus saves to bring us through & out of the chaos, to one day be delivered altogether.

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    Ava Aaronson,

    Thanks, Ava! I’m familiar with Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow”, a bit, but not the book you referenced. I appreciate book references as long as they are not (and I know this isn’t) coming from TGC type authors. I’ll check it out, but seems like I already lean that way, not that I don’t make mistakes.

    A friend of mine told me that the Israeli military incorporates women in their strategic planning. I find that notable.

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    Ava Aaronson,

    That is so well put about the intention of a loving Creator-Father toward his Beloved but errant children and fallen creation. Thank you for such a beautiful summation!