Sunday, November 10, 2019 - Real Faith: Problem of Suffering
Sermon by Steve Gedon
Article by Cassie Kile
Yesterday, we talked about the problem of suffering. We covered the text of Job - you probably know the text. "In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil..."
Job had everything. He had kids. He had wealth. He had his homestead. He was living on top of the world and praised God for everything. He gave all glory to God.
In our story here, Satan confronts God and says to God, you know Job wouldn't be so cool with you if the rug was jerked out from under him. God thought differently.
God says to Satan, fine. Go ahead and touch everything he has, but don't touch him. So we know how that goes. Job loses everything. He loses everything from his family to his wealth to his
health. He ends up scraping the sores on his body with potsherds - that is broken pieces of pottery. In my mind, these shards of pottery are part of Job's broken home. Job is using the rubble of his life to ease the itching of the sores on his body. Job has lost everything.
Lots of us come to church for lots of reasons. I'll just say it. Suffering really stinks. There is sickness, death, grief, loss, etc. And sometimes, when this stuff inevitably becomes part of our lives, we are drawn to go to church. We say to ourselves, you know, if I show up to church, and pray and have all these people pray for me, maybe God will change God's mind. I have shown up and done my part, now God owes me. God needs to show up and do God's part.
Then we have those on the other side of the spectrum, where they are cynical. When it comes to suffering, they say one of two things. Either 1.) God cannot control the situation, or, 2.) God does not care or does not exist.
When we come to church out of a sense that God owes us something, or that God does not exist/doesn't have power/does not care, etc, we are trying to maintain our control over the situation.
I'll say it again. Suffering really stinks. And, I'm not negating you come to church. However, if we come to church and seek God only during the bad times, we are not loving God; rather, we are just seeking God for what God can do for us. Suffering can kind of be like a mirror. It can tell us who we really are. When we are suffering, it can reveal to us what is inside because it is in these moments that we are most unlikely to be able to put up a facade.
There is a movie from Dreamworks called Rise of the Guardians. It's an epic tale of the dream-team of Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Sandman. They are the guardians of the children of the world. When trouble arises, a new guardian is to be appointed - Jack Frost. However, this new guardian is reluctant to join because he is not like the rest of them. He's a carefree kind of guy. But then a problem arises that gets his attention - Pitch Black (the boogey man) has stolen the memories that could unlock events from Jack's past to help him remember who he was. They go on an epic adventure to fight Pitch Black and save the world from Pitch Black. At one
point, however, Jack is with the guardians and North (Santa) is pressing him to see what is at his center. The center of the other guardians is hope, wonder, memories, and dreams. This is what motivates each of the guardians to what they do in their own specific roles.
At that point, Jack doesn't know what his center is, but he finds out by the end of the movie. As Christians, what should our center be? What is our core? Hopefully, it is faith, and a true love for God. I hope you take the opportunity this week to think about what is at your center. What is your core? What is your center? Is it faith? Is it true love for God?