Final instalment from “Suffering and Evil”, from the series “Little Black Books” produced by Matthias Media.
Well, six months into the year. Famines still ravage parts of the world, fighting in Syria goes from bad to worse and in our own cities binge drinking, crime and corruption abound. To quote our "Little Black Book", suffering and evil are alive and kicking (Ch2, p24). So where is God in all of this?
Chapter three deals with this question. Scott Petty begins with the assertation that people are bored with God, possibly because we don't know Him very well. But in thinking through the issues of suffering and evil we come to learn more about God. One thing we learn is that God is unpredictable. This is seen in creation (Scott points us to the zoo and the assortment of shapes and features of the animals there!). God was also unpredictable in the risk he took with staking his reputation on Job and the response Job would take to suffering and loss. And, Scott points out, God has taken a risk in entrusting the spread of his gospel to us. We want God to be predictable, especially in the areas of justice but he is unpredictable. We also learn that God is a God who takes delight in his people and all the details of their lives. He is bigger and better than we think. Just like Job, we want to know all the answers, to know the why of suffering. But in the end Job came to the place of wanting God rather than the answers to his questions. The same should be for us: we cannot know all the answers or all the whys, but we can know the God who does (p51).
After 54 pages Scott finishes with the challenge: Job has come to see how big God is, he has a relationship with God and that is enough for Job; is it enough for us?
On re-reading the book several times I thoroughly recommend this as a good read, concluding that the author has dealt with the topic “with precision and compassion” (p5), looking especially at what the Bible character Job teaches about God, faith, evil and suffering (p7). His focus in each chapter on God and the Biblical perspective on suffering and evil is refreshing and encouraging. The absolute importance of a relationship with the God who created and sustains the universe is where the author ends the book and is the most crucial thing for us, where ever we find ourselves.
For more information on a relationship with this awesome God visit Two Ways To Live.