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God's Answer

God's answer to the problem of suffering is that He came right down into it. Many Christians try to get God off the hook for suffering; God put Himself on the hook, so to speak—on the cross. And therefore the practical conclusion is that if we want to be with God, we have to be with suffering, we have to not avoid the cross, either in thought or fact.

And when He sends us the sunrises, we thank Him for the sunrises; when He sends us sunsets and deaths and sufferings and crosses, we thank Him for that. Any fairly mature Christian can look back on his or her life and identify some moment of suffering that made them much closer to God than they had ever thought possible. Before this happened, they would have said, "I don't really see how this can accomplish any good at all," but after they emerge from the suffering, they say, "That's amazing. God, with His grace, gave me the strength for a moment." If it weren't for suffering, it wouldn't have been possible.

The answer, then, to suffering is not an answer at all. It's the Answerer. It's Jesus Himself. It's not a bunch of words, it's the Word. It's not a tightly-woven philosophical argument; it's a person. The Person. The answer to suffering cannot just be an abstract idea, because this isn't an abstract issue; it's a personal issue. It requires a personal response. The answer must be someone, not just something. In the end, God has only given us partial explanations. But He knew Jesus was more than an explanation. He's what we really need.

—Taken from "The Case for Faith" by Lee Strobel. Copyright (c) 2000 by Lee Strobel. Used by permission of Zondervan