Lee Strobel: Why Does God Allow Pain, Suffering?
By Alex Murashko
A few years ago, Christian apologist and author Lee Strobel said that in doing research for his book, The Case for Faith, he asked the Barna Group research organization to conduct a national survey among people across a spectrum of beliefs that asked that hypothetical question.
Strobel spoke about the results of that survey at an apologetics conference Saturday from Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and simulcast to more than 75 churches throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. He was one of four speakers at the event called, "The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask."
"By far, the number one question that people wanted to ask God is ‘Why He allows pain and suffering in this world?’ In the survey that Mark [Mittelberg] did more recently where he asked Christians ‘What are you afraid of being asked?’ this was one of the top questions as well," Strobel said during the conference.
He tackled the tough question of pain and suffering during one of several sessions that featured Mttelberg, who is his co-founder along with Strobel of The Institute at Cherry Hills, an apologetics and evangelism ministry, and scholars Craig Hazen and Douglas Groothuis.
Strobel said the question is raised by two different types of people. The first kind of person is one that is presently going through pain and suffering.
"When someone is raising this issue with me and I know they are coming from that perspective I know that they really don’t want the long, intellectual answer about why God allows pain and suffering," he said. "When you are in the midst of suffering you are looking for someone to be Jesus to you. You are looking for someone to love you and help take care of you, and reach out to you.
"It’s important for us to understand that when people raise this issue it’s not always because of an intellectual curiosity," Strobel explained. "It’s about their own hurts and we need to be sensitive to that."
There are other people that bring up the question because it is a legitimate intellectual question to ask, he said.
"We don’t have a complete answer. 1 Corinthians 13:12 says on this side of heaven we sort of see things dimly (paraphrase). We don’t understand everything. We are not God," Strobel continued. "But, I believe that God has revealed enough to us that we do have enough of a satisfactory answer to minister to our hearts and souls to this particular question…
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