Skip to main content

God is Present in Suffering

I am currently teaching through Nahum at  one of our sister churches. As I was preparing to preach on Nahum 1:12-13 on God's Sovereignty Over Suffering, I came across this quote from Andrew White from his autobiographical account of his life as Vicar of Baghdad, in post-Saddam-Hussein Iraq. Andrew observes God’s unmovable presence in a dangerous city : 
However dreadful the tragedy, My Lord is there. Amidst the greatest havoc I have witnessed in post war Iraq, or in Gaza, or in Bethlehem during the siege, I have still seen God’s glory…I have seen heavens opened and glimpsed something of the majesty, might and love of God. When life is full of despair, it is only the glory of God that truly sustains. There have been times when everything has gone wrong, when friends and colleagues have been killed, and there has seemed no hope. It is at times like this that I ask God to show me his glory…so I circulate among the powerful people in Pentagon, Congress and Parliament, I ask to see God’s glory, and in all these places I have seen it.
The quote is from The Vicar of Baghdad : Fighting for Peace in the Middle East. The teaching that God is present in suffering really sets apart Christian teaching from other religions in this area because God is not a cosmic observer distant but he truly suffers when we suffer. Here is what Isaiah of Jerusalem said, "In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and carried them All the days of old..." (Isaiah 63:9). In the same book, as he looks forward to the coming of the Messiah he declares, "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5). Here again we see the importance of the doctrine of Trinity. God puts on humanity an suffers with us. God with Us. Not only for our sins, but for all our pain and afflictions. Without Immanuel we are still suffering by ourselves. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I am what I am by Gloria Gaynor

Beverly Knight closed the opening ceremony of the Paralympics with what has been dubbed the signature tune of the Paralympics. I had no idea Ms Knight is still in the singing business. And clearly going by the raving reviews she will continue to be around. One media source says her performance was so electric that "there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen as she sang the lyrics to the song and people even watching at home felt the passion in her words" . The song was Gloria Gaynor's I am what I am . Clearly not written by Gloria Gaynor but certainly musically owned and popularized by her. It opens triumphantly: I am what I am / I am my own special creation / So come take a look / Give me the hook or the ovation / It's my world that I want to have a little pride in / My world and it's not a place I have to hide in / Life's not worth a damn till you can say I am what I am The words “I am what I am” echo over ten times in the song. A bold declaration that she

Spiritual Leadership

J Oswald Sanders (1917-1992) was a Christian leader for seventy years.  He wrote more than forty books on the Christian life including one book I dip into often, The Incomparable Christ. He was the director of the China Inland Mission (Overseas Missionary Fellowship), where he was instrumental in beginning many new missions projects throughout East Asia.  Spiritual Leadership encourages the church to pray for and develop Spirit empowered leaders. People who are guided by and devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ. The book presents the key principles of spiritual leadership. He illustrates his points with examples from Scripture and biographies of men who have led the people of God in history.  The book has 20 chapters. I have tried to summarise the main conclusions of these chapters under five key questions. Most of the ideas presented in this article are directly from the book. But I have  communicated these ideas in my own way, except where direct quotes are given. Towards the end, I off

The invisibility challenge

He is the image of the invisible God I have long been fascinated by the challenge of invisibility. One of the things people say when you discuss with the question of God with them is that there’s no evidence for God. Usually what they mean is that God is not physically obvious to them. God is not something that they can feel and touch so they struggle to accept that he exists.