The Lord be with you,
There certainly have been a tremendous number of calamities, both man-made and natural, in recent years. The sad reality is that this is nothing new. Any war produces a tremendous number of man-made calamities. The recent fires in California have produced a tremendous number of natural calamities. We also hear about shootings (man-made) and hurricanes (natural), poverty (man-made) and famines (natural), and so much more. Such calamities, almost instinctively, draw from us the question, “Why?” Either the more general question of why do they happen, or the more personal question of why did it happen to me.
Often these sorts-of questions are directed towards “the Church,” or more specifically at God. Christians have often been quick to defend God, often doing more damage than good in their efforts. (Of course, non-Christians have also sought to answer these questions.)
For Christians, there are three things that must be held together:
1 God’s merciful love,
2 His omnipotence and
3 The far-reaching consequences of human sin in and on creation.
John Pless, in 2015, published a booklet, “Answering the Why Question: Martin Luther on Human Suffering and God’s Mercy.” (Below is a link to it.) In this booklet, Pless approaches these questions from a distinctively Lutheran perspective. In other words, he uses the Bible as understood in the Lutheran Confession, and not purely human philosophical speculations, to address the question of evil in the world.
As Lutherans, we go as far as the Word takes us, and no further. Pless does this. Trust me on this, something bad is going to happen sometime after you read this post. So read Pless’ booklet and be armed when the devil, or the world, or your own fallen flesh, attacks with questions that either assail God’s mercy, or his omnipotence, or deny the consequences of sin. Instead, you will be better armed to depend on God’s mercy in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Blessings in Christ,