I enjoyed Philip Yancy’s book titled “Where is God When it Hurts?” There is actually a sequel to this book titled “The Question that Never Goes Away.” Of course the question that he is talking about is the subject of the first book.
I read this second book with great interest because he spends a few chapters dealing with the Newton, CT shootings which occurred in my home state. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the second book:
“Affliction is the best book in my library” – Martin Luther
Why do we continue to think that good and evil, pain and pleasure are doled out according to our merit, when the Book of Job teaches just the opposite?
I kept thinking of the verse in First John: ‘the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.’
The wealth of lament and protest in the Old Testament makes clear that we cannot count on God to intercede directly in human history, no matter how monstrous the injustice.
“I will fear no evil, for you are with me. . . .” God has come close. Those few words, “you are with me,” reveal the one thing we can count on in calamitous times.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,” wrote John in the prologue to his Gospel. In the face of suffering, words do not suffice. We need something more: the Word made flesh, actual living proof that God has not abandoned us. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, “Only a suffering God can help.”
The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.
From Jesus I learn that God is on the side of the sufferer. God entered the drama of human history as one of its characters, not with a display of omnipotence but in a most intimate and vulnerable way.
We go through suffering not alone, but with God at our side.
Christ’s suffering shatters the iron walls around individual human suffering,
God can make good use of suffering itself: “There is no pain, no suffering, no frustration, no disappointment that cannot be cured or taken up and used for higher ends.”
Jesus said he could have called on legions of angels to prevent the crucifixion. He did not. The redemptive way goes through pain, not around it.
To redeem a planet, Someone must die.
This is not the worst thing to ever happen! Cancer is so limited. It cannot cripple love, shatter hope, corrode faith, eat away peace, destroy confidence, kill friendship, shut out memories, silence courage, quench the Spirit or lessen the power of Jesus.
May God’s love spill out into your lives in unexpected ways
Life is on loan, and will return to the Lender.
Jesus did not eliminate evil; he revealed a God willing, at immense cost, to forgive it and to heal its damage.
Where is God when it hurts? God is now in the church, God’s delegated presence on earth.
One commentator worried that Newtown had forever “spoiled” Christmas, as Virginia Tech and Columbine had spoiled Easter. Perhaps—but only if you celebrate them merely as holidays rather than as real events.
Christianity doesn’t in any way lessen suffering. What it does is enable you to take it, to face it, to work through it, and eventually to convert it.
From Jesus I learn that God is on the side of the sufferer. God entered the drama of human history as one of its characters, not with a display of omnipotence but in a most intimate and vulnerable way
And my favorite quote from the book, when Philip Yancy was asked by a mother – “Will God protect my child”:
“No, I’m sorry, I can’t promise that.” None of us are exempt. We all die, some old, some tragically young. God provides support and solidarity, yes, but not protection—at least not the kind of protection we desperately long for. On this cursed planet, even God suffered the loss of a Son.”
If interested, you can get both books on Amazon in either paperback or E-Book formats. Here are the links:
Where is God When it Hurts:
The Question that Never Goes Away:
My book, “Lifestyle Worship”: