The Australian Medical Association has predicted at least a 25 per cent rise in the number of suicides over the next five years because of Covid-19. Some of you are doubtless struggling to understand the suffering you’ve seen, or even experienced, this year. In her new book, “Where is God in All the Suffering?”, Dr Amy Orr-Ewing offers some answers.
Dr Orr-Ewing is President of OCCA The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, and Senior Vice President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. She believes Christians are often hesitant to ask the “why” question, because they fear that having doubts means lacking Faith. She writes about pain from a philosophical and personal perspective, revealing how God, through Christ, offers a unique hope in the realities of hardship.
“What I wanted to do was really to show how the Bible actually says it’s ok to ask why, and all of us, as human beings, ask why. And then to ask, does our way of looking at the world account for why we ask why?”
Dr Orr-Ewing says the Bible does describe a world in which good people who love God face suffering. But she believes we can get a better understanding of “the why question” by looking at it through the lens of love, which according to the Bible, is at the core of truth and reality.
“Suffering feels so painful, and so wrong, because of our love for another person,” she said, “or because of our instinctive sense that we ought to be loved by a God, and our feeling that, if we’re going through all this awful stuff, maybe we’re not.”
Back at the start of Genesis, we saw God create a perfect world. Then he created humans and gave them free will. “We used that capacity to choose to disobey God. And then we see this cascade of consequences of that exercise of moral choice by Adam and Eve. And that’s how suffering and pain entered the world, not because God made it so, but because we’ve used our capacity to love and to choose for ill.”
And as Dr Orr-Ewing points out, Adam and Eve’s choices didn’t just affect them. “Our choices impact other people. And our choices impact the very fabric of the universe, impact the thorns and thistles that then come, the suffering that results from living in the physical world that we live in, whether that be forest fires, or viruses.”
We live in a world in which love is possible, but pain is also real. The fall described in Genesis explains things even tragic global events like Coronavirus. But it’s important to remember that God hasn’t abandoned us in our suffering. “The God of love, who made this world, also chooses to experience suffering on our behalf, with us, and for us, in the person of Jesus.”
In her conversation with 20Twenty’s Neil Johnson, Dr Orr-Ewing also discussed how other religions, and even atheism, approach suffering. She discussed whether anger has a place in the Church, and spoke about how her book has been informed by her own personal experiences of pain and grief.
Listen to the podcast below for all that and much more. Or check out her book, “Where is God in All the Suffering?”, available now.
Tune into 20Twenty and join the conversation with Neil Johnson, weekdays on Vision Christian Radio. Click here for your local times.
More from 20Twenty
Surviving Financial Challenges – Marriage and Money Seminar
We are facing some significant challenges as a nation and some families are doing it harder than others. Interest rates are climbing, and the cost of living pressures are taking their toll, not just on our bank balances, but also on our relationships and marriages.
Archaeology and Easter
Archaeology has continued to help bring the narrative of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ alive. Through excavation, researchers have been able to uncover pieces that support and provide greater insight into the events that took place that day.
Planning For Retirement – Marriage and Money Seminar
When you consider the expense of raising children, paying off a mortgage and all the other pressures young adults face, it is little wonder they get to middle age and find their superannuation funds lacking.
Professor Weighs In On The Voice Referendum
A national referendum is imminent this year, likely between October and December. Each of us will be given an opportunity to express our opinion and cast our vote in favour or against the integration of the First Nations’ voice into the Australian Constitution.