Does God Give a Damn?

We see so much suffering in the world that believers and non-believers alike, ask the inevitable question of “why”. Why does God allow, or even initiate, the suffering we see in the world? If God is such a loving and caring Almighty, then why does He want us to suffer? Does He give a damn?

There’s a lot of scripture and scholarly citations that you can dig into, which will show that God truly cares for us and the world He created. You will find that our fall from grace in the garden brought evil into the world that’s driven by Satan. God gave us freedom to make choices to include whether we believe in God or not. We are not forced to worship, so Satan tries to help us make the wrong choices that drives a lot of the suffering in the world.

Love is not real unless its freely given between parties. For me, I look to Jesus, God’s only Son, our Lord and Savior, who was prosecuted, tortured and suffered on the cross. He had a choice too.

The Movie: The Passion of the Christ

Thankfully, Jesus chose to take on the Sins of the world, enduring unimaginable pain and suffering, so that we could have a chance of redemption in His death and resurrection.

So, if the Son of God endured suffering, then what makes you or me special for some kind of exemption? God is neither indifferent or powerless to our suffering. Through Jesus, God knows what our struggles, pain and suffering feels like. The Apostle Peter offers a good summation:

Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter: 5: 8-11

There’s a few mantras in the endurance racing world. This is one my favorites, “What doesn’t kill you makes you tougher.” If not for our pain and suffering, then how do we grow as people? If it weren’t for my struggles and seeking God’s help, I wouldn’t be who I am today. How about you?

Bottom line, we live in a world infected by Sin that creates the suffering in the world, which is man-made, not God’s. Moreover, God gives a damn, proven by Him giving us Jesus and His Holy Spirit.

I don’t say this lightly. I’ve experienced great suffering and pain in my life that includes the loss of a young daughter and having faced life threatening cancer. So, I’m speaking with the scars to support my perspective.

If you’re struggling with God, then look to God for reassurance and understanding. You will receive the Holy Spirit and know that you’re not alone and that you’re loved from above and here on earth.

The Conversion of Paul Proves the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Saul of Tarsus was a feared pharisee who hunted down the followers of Jesus in the months following the crucifixion. Saul was a notorious and effective prosecutor, if not executioner of Christians. So much so that Saul was believed to be involved in the first recorded Christian execution and martyrdom of Stephen, who was stoned to death.

The Bible alludes to the fact that Saul was there during the stoning of Stephen. In the Book of Acts 7: 58 it states, “and they cast him (Stephen) out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of the young man named Saul.”

So what does Saul have to do with the indisputable proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ? In my opinion, EVERYTHING.

Saul, who would become known as Paul one of the greatest Apostles for Christ, had everything going for him as a rising star with growing power as a feared Jewish pharisee. So why would he do the unthinkable and convert to a renegade Jewish cult, the very group he built his reputation persecuting?

It begins with his journey to Damascus to hunt down Christians to prosecute. However, something happened on the road to Damascus that not only changed his life, but changed the course of Christianity, if not civilization itself.

Here’s what the Bible lays out for us:

Days later Saul would regain his sight and be baptized, going on to be one of the greatest disciples of Christ in the history of Christianity.

Skeptics downplay the conversion of Paul by saying he must have landed on a rock when he fell off his horse, which caused his temporary blindness. If that’s close to even being true, it doesn’t explain how Saul dropped everything to follow our Savior.

Think about it, Paul had everything to lose and nothing to gain by accepting a fictional Savior figure. I believe Paul did witness the Resurrected Jesus. Who other than God can turn Christianity’s then greatest enemy into one of the New Testament’s greatest evangelists for Christ Jesus. It’s inexplicable, if not miraculous.

As far as I’m concerned, the Conversion of the Apostle Paul is irrefutable evidence that Jesus lived, died and resurrected giving humankind hope for redemption and eternal life.

On a side note: I want to be Heaven to see the expression on Stephen’s face when he looks around and eventually spots Paul. What will be going through his mind at that moment? My guess is that Stephen would rejoice knowing his death may have planted the seeds for Paul’s conversation.

This is where the beauty of God really shines through the darkest moments of life and how His Spirit works in us and through us. As Stephen was dying from the blows from the stones, he saw Jesus in the sky:

The mob covered their ears believing Stephen was blasphemous. It’s hard to ignore the fact the Saul was exposed to this scene and even hearing Stephen in his last breaths calling out to God to forgive his executioners, which Saul was one of them.

Acts 7:60: “Then he (Stephen) knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when had said this, he fell asleep.”

Every Christian owes a great debt of gratitude to Stephen whose death may changed the course of human history. If it weren’t for Paul’s conversion, we would be missing at least 8 books, maybe as much as 14 if we count Hebrews, in the New Testament.

For me, I find inspiration from Paul’s conversion that Jesus not only exists, but is active in our lives through the Holy Spirit. Every time we fall off our horse of faith, God is there to help us get back on through His Grace, Forgiveness and Love.

Praise God. Amen.