Thursday, March 11, 2010

Suffering, what is my/our response to alleviate suffering in the world?

Why Suffering? John Piper wrote a very good response to this issue a few days ago. See . Similar to the response I looked at from Berea Bible church a few blogs ago. See It is an issue which continues to challenge me as I feel as if I am far from doing enough in this area. There is tremendous peace in knowing we do not earn salvation by works.....and yet in knowing Christ, our passionate love should drive us to love with extreme persistence and we do this? Truly in everyday life, do we love beyond what is convenient for us right now?

Here is my response/comment to John Piper's issue of why suffering? I challenge my lifestyle as I write/think! How can we practically do more for others in need? Leave a comment!

Dear John Piper

"Why do children suffer?" It is an issue I have been thinking about for years, it has been much in my thoughts as I blog more recently. Your Biblical answer is good. It is basically pointing out that we are asking the wrong questions sometimes...we should indeed ask, "Why am I spared such suffering, for surely I do not deserve such grace!" Along similar lines I also like this answer here .

And yet, I still struggle immensely with the practical side of it though and with the next logical question...."do children suffer because of my apathy?" I trained as a social worker in my home country South Africa, but now live in wealthy Australia and attempt in what I consider a frustratingly pathetic way to help those who suffer in my native land South Africa. It is so easy to be caught up with 'worldly' things and distractions. For example...My children have far more than I ever had as a kid, is this necessary? A zillion times more than a poor kid in South Africa. Are my kids better off for it? I think not as I see them grow up, what was a treasure for me as a kid is something they take for for granted as normal. Things lose their value with wealth. And one has to consequently have a different perspective on life, like it or not. Things that would be luxury in the average South African household are common place here. Yet, I excuse our lifestyle...for we live very simply by Australian standards.

In Africa the problem is always, 'there is too much need and not enough to give', it can suffocate one if you are not careful to look to God. Here in the West, the problem is that there is 'too much greed and not enough motivation to give'. And we forget that this is part of looking to God. Or worse still we give a paltry donation and we think it is enough.

What a 'miracle' would occur if we 'Western Christians' accepted an exceptionally unusual, even 'poor by our standards' way of life and all gave far more than we though we were ever able to give? To projects that would help people help themselves and uplift communities? Is this an unrealistic dream? The burden for children effected by AIDS grows immensely day by day in South Africa....who will care for these children when the grannies are not there? The need for Western help needs to be planned now unless we plan to watch more children suffer!

Why do children suffer then? Is it not also in part because we as Christians do not respond Biblically to care for the poor, the orphans and the widows in a radical life changing 'James' sort of way?

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