Can we find any use for suffering? What does suffering do for us as followers of Christ and for our compassion for others?
Is there any way to respond to the fact that everything’s not right with the world? Let me suggest this as a different image for a theodicy: God and the world play together in a cosmic jazz improvisation.
We have gotten so used to mechanical images of God as architect or engineer that we sometimes forget that this is not the primary imagery Scripture uses. God is the shepherd and the parent. Even God as King does not imply total control, but leadership. When God created the world, risk was involved in the same way as when parents choose to have a child. You are making another person, and they will make their own choices.
The problem of evil and suffering faces us in many forms. Truth be told, it is probably the single best argument against belief in a good God. Especially in those cases where evil and suffering are rooted in nature and cannot be excused by human sin. As we begin a series on natural evil and theodicy, we focus this week on some of those faith-rattling natural occurrences.