Jesus, Forgiveness, Healing, Grace, Mercy, Redemption are all words that are associated with Christianity but the understanding of them is being lost today's world.
The Mystery of suffering.
To seek any sort of answer to this mystery it is firstly essential to understand the answers to some other searching questions such as the very existence or not of God. If you reader are still unsure of this then -
Click here to read the Chapter 'A case for God’s Existence’ before returning and reading more of this Chapter.
Required also is a much wider perspective of the whole purpose of our existence.
Click here (if required) to read the chapter on 'What is the purpose of our lives?'
It is a mystery, even greater than that of suffering, as to why God even bothered to created the Universe and all that is in it and yet its very existence all around us cannot be denied. Unfortunately however, the existence of Evil within the Universe is also there to be recognised by anyone of sound mind. If you Reader have been fortunate enough not to have had a personal experience of evil for yourself then think for a moment or two of the wicked deeds done by the like of Hitler, Stalin and Osama ben Laden. Why God allows evil, and perhaps even created it, will be discussed later in another Chapter.
It has been suggested elsewhere that God's purpose in creation is to eventually populate a place called Heaven (for want of a better name at this time) with 'Free spirits' who have been created here on Earth and then allowed to grow into adult human beings. Such growth then takes place within a lifetime of personal experiences as perceived by our six senses.
I find that I can go along with the above line of thought and ask that you Reader do the same until proved otherwise. If you do so then you will be partaking in a shortened version of what is know as 'Pascal's Wager'. Blaise Pascal was a philosopher who lived in the seventeenth century and proposed that - 'Even though the existence of God cannot be proved, a person should 'wager' that he does because those who do choose to believe are much better off than those who don't. If, after death, they discover that there is a God waiting for them then they have everything to gain. But if there is nothing after death then they will have lost nothing.'
An principal element to allow this growth to take place, through a lived personal experience, is what is general know as 'free choice', although I prefer the term ‘independence’. In this ‘free choice’ we see an essential difference between us humans and the remainder of God's creatures who live an existence more akin to robots pre-programmed by their instincts. Of all the many creatures that roam the earth it is only mankind who are dissatisfied with who we are, cats enjoy being cats and dogs likewise. God could have made us humans to be the same but chose instead to give us the intelligence, ability and freedom to choose for ourselves to be independent of his guidance and thus chose our own destiny.
God loves each and every one of us and wants to guide and share our lives with us but not as some bossy headmaster, as some people think, but more like a good sports coach - he wants each of us to reach our full potential. Such a personal relationship, when fulfilled, becomes what is referred to as ‘salvation’ If we can live day by day in a loving relationship with our creator then we shall be ‘saved’. As said earlier - we have been given the freedom to chose for ourselves to either move into such a relationship or to claim our ‘Independence’ and ignore God's existence.
But what has History to show of mankind’s use of this independence that we have been given? The mess is there for all to see all around us, caused by those Kings, Dictators, Governments and individuals who think they are wiser than the advice that God has already given us. It’s the misuse of this independence that is the cause of much of the suffering in our World, not God.
But to return to the subject of this freedom of choice that each individual has been given, I believe that the bottom line in life for each living human is this - We can either choose to live our own lives, and expect to be happy, by relying upon our own wits and skills or we can turn to God and seek his advice and help.
In my lived experience of this statement I have found that more people turn to God, not out of curiosity, but through some form of adversity. Here we can perhaps have a glimpse why God stands back and does allow some suffering to take place. Think on this important point Reader - If there where no suffering then many people, maybe even most, would continue to shut their creator out from their day to day lives and view him as a spoil sport rather than a potential best friend.
As said above, the purpose of our lives is for us to each grow into a mature fully balanced human being and the question I ask of you Reader is this - how could any of us become mature if there where no suffering in our world?. How could any of us learn compassion and sympathy if we never see suffering in others?. How could any of us learn to be brave if there where no challenges to face? How could we learn honesty if there where no opportunities or temptations to act dishonestly.
A fulfilled life is about experiencing contrasts, without laughter there could be no sorrow, the 'best' would have little meaning if there where no 'worst' to measure it against, and there would be no pleasure without some pain to compare it with.
So you see Reader, there is a purpose behind evil and suffering in our present world, but it won't last forever. Think on this - at the time of Jesus' Crucifixion, God the Father could have eliminated evil altogether, as he could do at this very moment in time. Why he chose not to is unclear, but meanwhile we live in an age between ages where we have opportunities to mature into the likeness of the only ever fully human being that ever lived - Jesus.
God has provided mankind with opportunities to blunder down blind alleyways and thus learn from our mistakes. But He doesn't leave us without help, his longstanding invitation is - Choose either my ways or your own, but then live with the consequences. It's been suggested elsewhere that when we meet God face to face he will have one of two things to say - Either 'My will be done' or 'Your will be done'
In finishing this Chapter, I need here to remind you Reader that all the above words are only my poor attempt to answer this Mystery of Suffering but I hope that you can see for yourself that a world without any suffering would be a very strange place indeed. Elsewhere on this web site is another Chapter concerning the sources of the different types of Pain and Suffering that are all part of the bigger picture.
The invitation now is to click here and move onto the next page and consider ‘Who is this Jesus?’
Alternatively, click to read ‘A case for God’s Existence’
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