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Contemporary Comments
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"God and Human Suffering" | October 22, 2016 | Order Info

 
Texts: 
Romans 1:18–20; Job 12:7–10; Revelation 4:11; Colossians 1:16, 17; Matthew 6:34; Job 10:8–12; Romans 3:1–4

The Australian Tourism Commission tasked the musical duo “Scared Little Weird Guys” to write a jingle to entice tourists to vacation in Australia. The group instead wrote the catchy little ditty “Come to Australia” about the many ways you can die in their native land:

“Red-Back Funnel-Web, Blue-Ringed Octopus, Taipan, Tiger Snake, Adderbox and Jellyfish, Stone Fish and the poison thing that lives in a shell that spikes you when you pick it up. Come to Australia, you might accidentally get killed! Your life’s constantly under threat; Have you been bitten yet? You’ve only got 3 minutes left before a massive coronary breakdown! Big shark, just waiting for you to go swimming at Bondi Beach. Come to Australia, you might accidentally get killed, your blood is bound to be spilled, because you might accidentally get killed!”1

Snake season begins soon in Australia, though it’s still cool in Adelaide. One eastern brown snake (the world’s second-most venomous land snake) recently braved the chilly weather for as long as it took to find a cozy refuge. A woman went to collect her Ugg boots from outside her house and saw a brown tail disappear into a boot. “It saw her and shot into her Ugg boot,” said Snake Catchers Adelaide manager Rolly Burrell. Burrell’s company removes a snake from a shoe about once a year—last year from inside a rubber boot that had been hung upside down on a rack. It’s been such a cold winter and “everything wants to come out,” Burrell says. “They’ll all be pretty hungry at the moment after hibernating. Once we start getting some warm days, it’s going to go off with a bang."2

The entrance of sin into the world not only infected human hearts, it infested the natural world with some pretty nasty elements. This week’s lesson considers God’s role and relationship to human suffering. If God created a perfect world, where did eastern brown snakes, disease, and heartache come from? If God loves us, why do humans suffer from the effects of sin? When Job says, “Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now destroy me?” (Job 10:8) he utters the question that many of us have wondered at times. Thursday’s lesson addresses the concept of theodicy: What does God’s goodness mean in the face of evil in the world?

In the meantime, this world is a paradox—a beautiful land such as Australia holds some of the deadliest creatures on the planet. Our personal worlds can exhibit the same paradox—those who experience the beautiful love of God can also suffer from the deadliest effects of evil. And with Job, we too sometimes ask, “Where are you, God, in all of this?” But then we remember with hope what Thursday lesson reminds us: “...when it is all over we will be able to see the goodness and justice and love and fairness of God in all His dealings with humanity, with Satan, and with sin.”

~ cb

1. elyrics.net
2. abc.net.au/news


 

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