This is part three of a four part series leading up to the launch of Shore Vineyard Churches, new church plant “INTERSECTION”. These four weeks will be related to the first service which is called “Who is Jesus: Facts, stories and questions about the most influential man in history.” For more information on Intersection, visit the Shore Vineyards website here
“If your God is REAL, then why is there poverty in the world?”
“If Jesus EXISTS, Why do people get sick and die?”
“This thing* happened to me… WHERE is Jesus?”
I’m never quite sure how to answer these questions. How do you answer questions that you yourself have wrestled with multiple times? Agonised over? Had sleepless nights over? These are not normal questions. These are questions that are often birthed in the midst of hurt and despair. Questions that reflect a deep longing for understanding. The standard Christian responses of “God has a bigger plan dear” and “we will only understand it when we die” are, in my opinion, nothing more than a cop out or coping mechanism.
Reality check: S@*# Happens.
I honestly wish that could be my standard answer. But history has shown me that that attitude hardens the heart or moistens the eyes, and rarely brings about positive forward momentum.
No, in order to tackle these things, we need to develop our understanding of our surroundings, our culture, our scriptures, and our God.
And so these questions need to bring about… more questions. Only then might we begin to grow and find some answers.
For example, we may find ourselves with a more robust understanding of our planet. In Genesis we see God saying creation is “good”- therefore we know it is not “bad”. That means that God, in loving his planet, perhaps does not symbolically “shake up his church” when an earthquake hits, but rather that earthquakes are a reality of living on a dynamic planet. A planet that, without tectonic plates, could not sustain life of any kind. Perhaps earthquakes are simply the aches and groans of a planet that gives way to our very existence. Just a thought.
What about poverty though? Surely a loving God would click his fingers and abundance would be everywhere right? Maybe we need to consider more carefully the things Jesus said and modeled. Perhaps we need to remember when He called us His body, that meant that our hands and feet are to do what His hands and feet did. We are to go and bless as He went and blessed. as Mr Wright puts it:
“If we are truly praying to God’s honour, we can never simply pray for ourselves. We MUST pray for the needs of the whole world – where millions go hungry and starve. And as we pray we realize that if we TRULY pray, we may also have to do something about it – (we may have) to become part of God’s answer to our own prayer”
And finally, Jesus may actually not abandon us in times of need, but could potentially be right there in the midst of our brokenness, hurt and despair – longing to love us and tend to our wounds.
What if our definition of miracles and answers to prayer could become so much larger than what it currently is? What if asking questions and seeking bigger answers lead us to realise that in the midst of everything, Jesus IS there, and is working
with us and
Perhaps then we might find the answer we are looking for.
Jesus… was here… all along.