Bought by the Blood

January 24, 2009

Tough Questions of Faith – Chapter 2

This chapter is on the offense of evil.  Wright starts out talking about “natural evil” (i.e. natural disasters) and how the moral and rational explanations that we typically come up with are lacking.  In conclusion he states:

There is just not, as far as I can see or find in Scripture, any “right explanation” as to why such things happen.  Science can tell us their natural causes, and they are awesome enough.  That is the achievement, but also the limit of scientific explanation of “what really happened.” But neither science nor faith can give a deeper or meaningful reason or a purpose for a disaster.  thus we are left with the agony of baffeled grief and protest.  “God, how can you allow such things?  Why don’t you stop them?”  I don’t think it is wrong to cry out such things, even if we know that no answer is going to come from Heaven.

Wright argues that we can cry out as lamenting to God.  Our laments are not accusatory of God, but they hone Godly anger.  Laments are common in Scripture and they help us to reflect the image of God as we develop hearts of compassion.  The grief I experience due to suffering is only a drop in the ocean compared to God’s grief over suffering.  My lamenting over pain draws me closer to the heart of God, which is why we find people in Scripture often lamenting over evil, injustice and heartache.  

The point we should notice (possibly to our surprise is that)  questions are all hurled at God, not by his enemies, but by those who loved and trusted Him most.  It seems, indeed, that it is precisely those who have the closest relationship with God who feel most at liberty to pour out their pain and protest to God -without fear of reproach.  Lament is not only allowed in the bible; it is modeled for us in abundance.  God seems to wants to give us as many word with which to fill in our complaint forms as to write our thank you notes…

You have to pour out your true feelings before God, feelings that include anger, disbelief, incomprehension, and the sheer pain of too many contradictions.

Only then can I come back to praise God with integrity.  Praise does not eliminate or override all such emotions.  Rather, it is the safe framework of total ackowledgement of God and utter dependence on him within they can be given their full expression.

Wright gives Psalm 13 as an example of a lament Psalm

 1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
   How long will you hide your face from me?
2How long must I take counsel in my soul
   and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 3 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
    light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
   lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

 5But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
   my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6I will sing to the LORD,
   because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Notice in verses 1-2, David’s questioning of God.  In verses 3-4 David requests of God that he be preserved and have victory over his enemies.  David closes is verses 5-6 praising God and confident of God’s character despite his circumstances.
Over at Vitamin Z’s blog you can read a modern day lament over the murder of the unborn

1 Comment »

  1. Great. There’s an entire book of Lamentations in the Bible. Questioning God is not wrong, it’s the path to spiritual authenticity.

    You might like this post:


    Comment by spinnakerjksc — January 24, 2009 @ 4:31 am | Reply

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