Because of the time we live in, we learn about some tragedies in real time like tsunamis, shootings, bombings, and accidents. The day of the Boston Marathon bombing, I came home and could not stop watching it. As sad as that was, I was still detached from it, because I didn’t know anyone directly affected. But we experience suffering very differently when it's personal.
When my friend and previous coworker Danny Reagan died in 2006 at the age of 38, my son Will, 18 at the time, had been working for Danny in his construction business. I saw the paramedics carry Danny out of his house. Kat and I were sitting in a room crowded with his wife, family, and friends as they told us the news that Danny was gone. When Will showed up later, I was standing in the parking lot of the hospital. We stood and held each other and sobbed for five minutes. Later, when I saw Danny's three children being brought into the hospital to learn the news, I thought I would throw up. In such circumstances, the question "why" is an emotional stab rather than a hypothetical conversation.
Philip Yancey explains that asking how there could be a God when such awful things happen is a bit ironic. That’s because such a question would never occur to us without an awareness that there is a God who could have prevented it. Some shake their
Because this issue is one of the major objections to the faith, there are plenty of books that address the question directly. Biblical writers don’t seem to do that. Rather, they tell extended stories for us to immerse ourselves in that cause us to wrestle with the question. One of those is the story of Joseph, son of Jacob, recorded in the book of Genesis. Joseph's story gets less ink than either Abraham's or especially of his grandson Jacob's. Still, the last thirteen chapters of Genesis deal with the relationship between Jacob's sons, with his younger son Joseph as the focus. That story begins in chapter 38 and goes through to the end at chapter 50. I'll be walking through that story Sunday as the fourth message in the series, Know Why You (Can) Believe.
You can see the outline and discussion questions here:
P.S. The video/audio