Suffering and the sovereignty of God.

Barnabas Piper:

How are we to respond when we hear tragic news or when we experience something devastating? Earlier this week I found out that the younger brother of a college student I know had passed away. The brother was nineteen years old. The natural, gut reaction to news like this is visceral. It is a mix of “Why?” and “This shouldn’t have happened!” But for many of us, myself included, theology often catches up to instinct and says “Yeah, but God is sovereign” as if this is more true than out first reaction. This theological realization stands in direct opposition to the emotional response. Are we sit back and think that all is ok, then?

I don’t think so. Too often God’s omnipotence is used as to suppress the emotion, the rightful human instincts of grief and outrage. When a young man dies it’s right to say “he died too young” even as we mentally assent to God appointing his days. When horrendous events happen the visceral cries of “Why?” and “No!” are the right ways to respond. Anything less makes us less than human.


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