D.A. Carson

Here is a quote from D.A. Carson via Vitamin Z about why Christians are surprised by suffering.

Here is his first reason:

We may get the balance of Scripture wrong. We remember the wonderful triumphs of Joseph, Gideon, and David; we meditate continuously on the miraculous healing of the man born blind, or on the resurrection of Lazarus. We are less inclined to think through the sufferings of Jeremiah, the constant ailments of Timothy, the illness of Trophimus, or the thorn in Paul’s flesh. A righteous man like Naboth perishes under trumped up charges (1 Kings 21). The “good guys” do not always win. We shall have occasion to return to such topics. For now it is enough to note that we may be infected by a pious version of the raw triumphalism that prevails in much of the surrounding culture because we have not taken care to follow the balance of Scripture.
– D.A. Carson, How Long O Lord?, p. 25

I would agree with Mr. Carson on this point, but I think the problem is even a bit more basic still. Almost all of the people who go to church for an hour on Sunday morning would have absolutely no idea who Naboth is if you went up to them on the street and asked them. I would bet that a pretty large majority wouldn’t even know who Jeremiah was and they sure wouldn’t know that his nickname was the “weeping prophet” or why in the world he might have such a nickname. They wouldn’t know about Timothy’s stomach problems. Anyway, you get the point.

Most people who go to church and call themselves christians have absolutely no idea what is in that mysterious book they carry for a short while one day of the week.

How could they then help but be surprised when they suffer? They hear flashy smiling smooth talking preachers talking about christianity as a way to have our best life now and they think that if they aren’t having (in their subjective opinion, of course) a good life, much less their best life, then something must be wrong with them.

The level of ignorance of what the Bible actually teaches is absolutely astounding and inexcusable in this age with such ready access to God’s word.

Just pick one up and read it. God breathed it for you to have and read. He wants you to get to know him as he really is and not as the cartoon character that his opponents and “friends” have made him out to be.

Take a chance. Read a Bible. It might just shift your perspective a wee bit.

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5 Responses

  1. Bingo. You don’t even need to bring your Bible to church anymore. They just flash a few words up on the screen. That’s all you need, right?

  2. sure. if you needed more, they would put more up on the screen, wouldn’t they?

  3. What I think is even sadder is that so few verses are even read…. much less flashed up on the screen. How are we going to know what the bible says if we aren’t paying any attention to it? One verse, a couple of jokes, 3 points, a conclusion and out the door. I took up your challenge and am almost finished with the whole book. Though it took me 4 months to your 3 weeks…I kept going back to reread parts. I must say my toes are sore from being stepped on so much and my eyes are constantly red from weeping over the overwhelming love of God!

  4. Hey Michelle,

    It is awesome when you see the whole thing, isn’t it? what a blessing!

  5. Michelle,

    That is great. When you read the whole thing, it changes everything. I know we need to take out snippets from time to time . . . but it should be under the assumption that we have taken the time to know the context.

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