12 March, 2007

Suffering?

People often ask why God allows suffering. Many post-moderns have concluded that suffering is outside of God's will and that he really does not have control over it. I believe that Augustine answers the question well when he rephrases it. He does not ask why God allows suffering; but what suffering will reveal. When people suffer, their true character comes out. The fruit that a tree produces depends on the life in their roots.

Though the sufferings are the same, the sufferers remain different. Virtue and vice are not the same, even if they undergo the same torment. The fire which makes gold shine makes chaff smoke… Stir a cesspit, and a foul stench arises; stir a perfume, and a delightful fragrance ascends. But the movement is identical.
-Augustine, City of God

4 comments:

Rob Somers said...

I believe Calvin said something along the lines of suffering being an antidote against becoming too attached to this world. It is an incentive to hope for the restoration of all things.

Fred said...

great post!

Mark said...

It's always jarring to read Paul saying he rejoiced in his sufferings. It's a potent reminder that God is in control of all things.

Anonymous said...

-Well said, Augie.
-Christian suffering is a benefit of the covenant as well as shows identification with Christ. As being a good work, it necessarily follows that God prepared the whole lot of it before hand. To the praise of God.

"When people suffer, their true character comes out. The fruit that a tree produces depends on the life in their roots."
-Trials unmask the hypocrite for who he is, but to the elect it is a time to manifest more of the same: Perseverance.