24 Nov Questions of A Christian Teenager
Question: It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that there is absolutely no difference between a Christian and a non-Christian when it comes to good health, good job, etc. Christians anyway fall sick just like anybody else. A lot of people claim that God gave them a new house or that God healed their sickness etc, but how can you know that God did it? Non- Christians also buy new houses and get cured. So what exactly is the point of being a Christian?
If there is an all-good, all-powerful God, then why is there so much suffering in the world? If God is good, he will want to remove suffering from the world. If God is all-powerful, He will be able to remove the suffering from the world. If God is both good and all-powerful, He will want to and be able to remove the suffering from the world. Then why is there so much suffering?
Yes, sufferings, good things, bad things happen to everyone, Christians and non -Christians… But who is the Lord of their lives? Does their life or death have any meaning?
It makes a big difference to know our Maker, live and die for Him, knowing fully well that He is sovereign and we will meet Him on the other side. The assurance of an eternal life with God has made millions willing to die for Him. They choose to die horrible deaths when asked to choose between death or denying Christ to live.
And on the other hand, many live for the fleeting pleasures of life. Their lives lack principle or purpose.” Living as I please, never knowing the God who created me, with no purpose or direction whatsoever, no hope for the future or understanding of life on this earth or beyond; I will live to please myself and even hurt others and grab what belongs to others since I have to live and sustain myself”. This is how the world lives.
Unless I know the One who created me, I will never know the purpose for which I was created. I may be a restless wanderer wasting time and energy on the wrong things and become disillusioned and burdened with the state of life today. I will try to build my life with family, friends, career, fame, money, looks and lose all when those shaky foundations give away. Many take their lives when their world collapses. Non- Christians know all these; money, looks and fame cannot be firm foundations. Then what is it?
What is life worth? Do we have authority to take our own life and those of others, even unborn babies?
God gives me abilities and talents so I can use them to sustain myself, help others, give back to God and glorify Him. He teaches me right and wrong ways and also to help others.
He is a God who delights in righteousness, integrity and justice. Do we speak out for the voiceless? Those deprived of houses and land, those who are forced into slavery and prostitution, the corporate giants that gobble up land worth crores and pay pittance to the farmers as compensation, the political class that has put away tonnes of gold and money that rightfully belongs to every country man and locked them up in vaults and foreign accounts. When I look at all these through the light of scripture, it makes a lot of sense.
The Bible talks of gleaning. Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. God told the Hebrews to leave back some of harvest, so the poor can have their fill. This was the early form of a welfare system instituted by God Himself. In other words, we need to share our profits with the poor, the widowed and orphaned.
All people are equal and should enjoy equal rights in the land, and its produce. This is what God says. But we have our own classes and castes that deny food, education, justice and basic human rights to our own country-men. How then can we expect our land to be blessed? And why complain when there is so much suffering?
The judicial system has its origins from God Himself. God gave Moses laws to govern the society. Judges were to be honest men who hated bribes. Our present law enforcement is anything but honest and accountable. The corrupt and lying are to be given severe punishment so it acts as a deterrent in the future.
Marriages are a reflection of His permanent love for the church etc. Marriage was to be a holy unbreakable union between a man and a woman in the presence of God. God gave His children freedom to marry anyone who was a believer. We have not followed God’s model and have so many broken homes, unhappy couples and devastated children.
We are not to charge higher interest on loans to others since they are our brethren. Who are our brothers and sisters? All the people around us, not just our own kith and kin. Money-lenders in India make a killing lending money to the poor at exorbitant interest.
There is plenty of injustice in this world. Even good people are not spared. The world doesn’t realize God is watching over us all the time, even when no one else is watching. Rulers cherish no accountability to God or man so they can abuse power to their utmost contentment and pleasure. They wage war against another country and kill everybody since they don’t like them or their God(???) does not like them.
Millions of people have perished in ethnic conflicts. Millions of people live in slavery, millions are unemployed, abused, deprived of even basic human rights; millions don’t have food to eat or access to water…
Many of us suffer today because we have not obeyed God. It’s not just individuals; as a society, a nation, the people of the world have rejected God citing evolution, the invincibility of man, science, etc. Or was it just a sheer will to do away with God/faith or religion? Man just doesn’t want rules to cramp his style. So he invented his own Gods and holy men who say what is pleasing to the ear. He is more worried about the financial markets, dabbles in superstitions and inner energy, has a relationship here and there, accommodates homosexuality, does not care a hoot about abortion, parties hard with friends.
Oh yes, everyone wants a transparent and clean administration. Corrupt people elect corrupt leaders. Though the papers report scams and scandals, truth is covered up, justice delayed or denied; handsome amounts of money pass hands and truth becomes the ultimate casualty. Public memory is short so the news reports are forgotten. Every citizen suffers under corrupt leadership.
God is a God of justice. He hears the cries of the poor, the orphaned and the widows. True religion is serving and helping the helpless.
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
Obeying the voice of God and doing what He says is essential for the good of the person, the country men and the land they live on. Unless we acknowledge the fact that God is holy, sovereign, loving, kind and just and that we need to be humble and obey Him, we, our family and our land will not be blessed.
Suffering people all over the world pray, fast, go on pilgrimages and wonder why they don’t get peace or relief. They follow false Gods and false beliefs… there is no other name given to man other than the Name of Jesus… they don’t know that they need to pray to Jesus. Who can tell them the truth? Only those who know Jesus
Suffering people look up to God for help. Their God may be a laughing Buddha sitting loftily on a pedestal, an idol decked in flowers and jewels, a Holy man who blissfully smiles from a photograph or a bleeding and dying saviour who understands it all since He himself went through it? Only a person who has gone through suffering will understand another’s pain. Jesus knew suffering and pain. No other God.
God changes senseless tragedies into triumphs when we yield to His will and leading. They may not be cured of sickness; their dead loved ones will not come back. They may be in debt all their lives. But it’s the peace and provision God gives that enables His children to sing…
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Death is also part of life. Our soul goes to the creator who made us. As much as we know by history that Jesus came, lived, died and rose again, we believe there is a heaven and a hell because Jesus taught so. We know He is preparing a place in heaven for His children and a hell, a place of eternal separation from God for those who reject Him.
Death may come to us any time and by any means… sickness, accidents, old age etc. It may strike at any age. It does not matter how long we live, but how we live and what we do for God on this earth matter. And it matters to with how many people we shared the Gospel of Jesus. God showed His love by sending His son to die for us and redeem us. Are we going to keep that to ourselves? Or are we going to share with others?
It is important to study, pursue a career, get a life partner, kids and enjoy life. But it is also important to remember that this world is not our eternal home and that many are perishing since they don’t know the Gospel. There is a God who loves them, who made them and wants them to know Him. And God has placed us in this world to heal the sick and help the suffering; to be a voice for the voiceless and speak out against injustice and exploitation. We are not made to stand by click our tongues, shake our heads and walk away. We are the good Samaritans. We are God’s answer to suffering.
We Christians are living in a comfortable bubble. God wants us to go where we are called, not where we are comfortable. We are called to make a difference.
Jeslyne Isaac is an active graduate in Adyar, Chennai.