Christianity 201

May 18, 2018

The “Fallen World” Explanation versus The “Mystery of God”

We’re back once again with Mark McIntyre at the blog Attempts at Honesty. Click the title below to read at source.

Allowing God to be Mysterious

Someone recently asked me about how to respond to a man whose family was killed by a drunk driver. The questioner wanted to know how to break through this man’s grief and explain why a loving God would allow this.

From a big-picture standpoint, Christians believe that all bad things happen as a result of the fall of man. We rebelled, wrecked the world and have to live with the results. But this explanation provides little comfort to those who are dealing with tragedy in their lives.

As I have grown older, I have become increasingly comfortable with allowing God to be mysterious. This has relieved me of some of the pressure to provide explanations for particular events.

I believe that Scripture supports me in this. God told Habakkuk:

“For I am doing something in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it” (Habakkuk 1:5)

Through Habakkuk, God announced that he was going to use Babylon to punish Israel for her rebellion. When we read this 2,500 years after the fact, we can lose touch with what went on. Really, really bad things happened to people when they were conquered by Babylon. The fact that God announced it ahead of time does not make this event less tragic for those who were wounded, killed or taken captive.

In a sense, in the quote mentioned above, God is telling Habakkuk that he won’t get his head around what God is going to do and perhaps he shouldn’t even try.

In the same way, when we are speaking with someone who is forced to endure a difficult situation, we can lose sight of the fact that the pain is real and that no explanation will alleviate that pain.

We are doing everyone a disservice when we try to explain God’s motives for allowing a particular event.

In the book Embodied Hope, Kelly Kapic draws from John Swinton to highlight three negative consequences of attempting to explain why God allows an event.

  1. The explanation often ends up justifying or rationalizing evil. By doing so they end up calling evil or suffering “good.”
  2. The explanation often silences the voice of the sufferer. The danger is that we can “smother the wounded with useless and often inaccurate explanations.”
  3. Explanations as to why the evil has occurred “can actually become evil in themselves, promoting further suffering rather than providing genuine comfort.”

So, when a friend, family member or church associate is struggling to deal with a difficult situation, understand that it is not your job to explain it. By attempting an explanation, the most likely outcome is that you will misrepresent God and hurt the person you are attempting to help.

July 5, 2017

When the Flood Waters Run High

Just two months ago, we introduced you to the website Dust off the Bible, which contains news, reviews, quizzes and a daily devotional. We thought we’d give you another opportunity to explore this excellent website. Click the title below to read this at source. (Often the passages are covered by two writers, which is the case today.)

Daily Bible Reading Devotional [Psalm 69:7-18]-June 28, 2017

Psalm 69:7-18

69:7 It is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that shame has covered my face.

69:8 I have become a stranger to my kindred, an alien to my mother’s children.

69:9 It is zeal for your house that has consumed me; the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.

69:10 When I humbled my soul with fasting, they insulted me for doing so.

69:11 When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them.

69:12 I am the subject of gossip for those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me.

69:13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me. With your faithful help

69:14 rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.

69:15 Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me.

69:16 Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

69:17 Do not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress–make haste to answer me.

69:18 Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies.


Much like yesterday’s reading, this passage calls for the Christian to stand up for the name of Christ. This however, is a prayer that God would give strength to those who are enduring persecution and mocking for the sake of following after God. We cannot live this Christian life alone and we are not meant to. Jesus is always there to give us peace and strength, especially when are facing hard times.

The Psalmist here is recognizing that yes, there has been some very hard times for being a follower of Christ. He names how family no longer cares for him, the people around him gossip, even those who are at the lowest form of the social ladder, are making fun of him. The sacrifice to follow after Christ is great and costly. Yet, there is no cry about frustration and bitterness. There is a cry for strength and a means of being sustained as he goes through this.

Whenever we are mocked and questioned about our faith, let us remember that Jesus Christ endured the greatest form of mockery in spreading the Gospel. He was beaten, humiliated, spit upon, mocked and killed. Our strength comes from the one who has endured it all and we can rest assured that He will answer us during times of persecution and hardships. He gives strength to the weary, peace to the anxious heart and joy to the sad.


Sometimes, the storms are what make us seek God the most. They are times where we need to seek something outside of ourselves and our surroundings. We need a supernatural event. While we should encourage others to call on God daily, know that it’s normal to call on the Lord more in our times of need. In fact, this is what King David often did and that is why so many Psalms are written from a place of despair. However, there is no need to despair. God is listening to us already. He is listening before we even speak.

If you are in a place of need at this moment, go find a quiet place and pray the words of King David;

With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.

Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me.

Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.

Do not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress–make haste to answer me.

Draw near to me, redeem me.