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God and Pain

I think there are two ways of dealing with pain and God. And both of them are not healthy.

First, let me start my explaining the way I deal with pain and God…

This past year has been particularly painful for me in my relationship with God. This past year has been a year of darkness.

Let me explain. My wife and I moved from California to Texas. This was not an easy move for us, but we felt like this is where God wanted us, and He did for a season. Before this move things were great. Everything was progressing forward, and then God stopped us in our tracks, closed doors in California and relocated us to Texas. In this experience we felt we learned a valuable lesson. Don’t make plans for God! Lesson learned, we were happily living and serving in Texas.

Then after a few years serving there, and as the reasons for us moving there were coming to close we began to seek God for what he desired next. No answer… and it seemed like every time we were ready to give up something little trinket came along and sustained our faith for another week. But the feeling of darkness overcame us, and this darkness persisted, and lingered…

We both began to question ourselves. What did we do wrong? Did we do anything wrong. Why no answer or direction?

And throughout this time we did the only natural Christian thing, we tested different doors. The problem was to many were opening and too many were closing. Nothing seems to match up or make sense.

Then the ridiculous happened. We felt God leading us back to California. The feeling was the only hazy thing we could understand. But Why? Why Could we not understand? Why did it seem the answer was sitting in our blind-spot? Why California? We had just gotten settled, created a great network of friends around us. Then is off to California? Oh, but no more information then that.

My impression was that the longer you follow God, the more it all makes sense, the clearer his voice is, and the more his plan becomes visible. The truth in our experience was proving to be the opposite.


Where are you taking us? Why are you not responding to my prayers? Why do I feel more alone then ever?


Darkness hurts, and looking back now I see how I dealt with the pain. I depersonalized God. I am a person with a deep-seated belief and conviction in God. So in times of pain and frustration in God I de-emphasis his love and focus on his sovereignty. Somehow for me this makes it ok for me to follow God although I feel hurt by Him. I turn to the religious side faith, rather than the personal. My focus drifts toward theology and philosophy. I think God can do what he wants and who am I to be question it. The thoughts of God’s love, mercy, and grace, are overshadowed by his truth, holiness, and power. I grow cold, and tired. “Who is God to know?” I think. I can study him, and maybe that is all a relationship with him means… so I study and study. But my heart… its hard to get my heart into anything. My mind and my strength are Gods… but my heart… my heart is hurt.

That is how I deal with pain and God. Maybe that’s you maybe its not.

The other way I see people deal with pain and God, it to take it personally. Pain in their life is a direct attack from God. If a person at the church hurt them, God did it. Or if a friend or family member dies, God killed them. They see God as the personal predator in their life.

This person retreats from God altogether… this person questions the reality of God. How could a God who causes me pain exist?

In my pain I did not run from idea of God, because I saw God as sovereign but impersonal. However, this person sees God as personal but not sovereign. They question God’s sovereign plan.

I except God’s crushing blows in my life, because I know his plans are bigger. But to deal with the pain God become someone less personal, and more like a steamroller. He’s not doing this to me; I’m just in the way…

The other person rejects God, they must. They see God as the personal God he reveals himself to be… So if he’s real, then he is cruel, and not worthy to be served. Or on the other extreme maybe he’s not real at all…

Both lead nowhere…

God is both personal and sovereign. Sometimes there is an explanation of the circumstances we are wading through. Other times there are not.

God does love you. He is personal. And he does see our need and look upon us with compassion. I was sustained and not crushed. He has held me up by his grace and mercy.

Why the darkness… why the pain…

I wish I had an answer…

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A Non-Violent Response to Violence.

violence is morally imposible
The question always arises when my pacifist theology is exposed in front of others is, “what would you do if a man was attacking your wife, or a child?” Would you attack the man? How could you not act violently to them?”
To these questions I will refer heavily upon Leo Tolstoy words from the book, What Would You Do?

“There are actions which are morally impossible, just as other are physically impossible. As a man cannot lift a mountain, and a kindly man cannot kill an infant, so a man living the Christian life cannot take part in deeds of violence.”
However, this is a statement many have a hard time agreeing with when the question arises about defending a child from a madman, or a woman from an attacker.
“It is generally assumed that the only possible reply is that one should kill the assailant to save the child [or the woman]. But this answer is given so quickly and decided only because we are all so accustomed to the use of violence—not only to save the child, but even to prevent a neighboring government altering its frontier at the expense of ours…”
“If the man be a Christian and consequently acknowledges God and sees the meaning of life in fulfilling his will, then however ferocious the assailant, however innocent and lovely the child, he has even less ground to abandon the God-given law and to do to the criminal as the criminal wishes to do to the child. He may plead with the assailant, may interpose his own body between the assailant and the victim; but there is one thing he cannot do—he cannot deliberately abandon the law he has received from God, the fulfillment of which alone gives meaning to life.”
Furthermore Tolstoy inquires into how someone can judge who needs to be saved. For he argues that no man can see into the future to see what either of the two people will become.  Moreover, what if one or both of them are not Christians? That means by ending their life you vanquish all possibilities for them to come to the saving knowledge of Christ.
“There is no moral law concerning which one might not devise a case in which it is difficult to decide which is more moral, to disobey the law or to obey it? But all such devises fail to prove that the laws, ‘Thou shall not lie, steal or kill,’ are invalid.”
“Excuses can be made for every use of violence, and no infallible standard has ever been discovered by which to measure the worth of these excuses. Therefore Christ taught us to disbelieve in any excuse for violence and never to use violence.”

Two wrongs do not make a right. And as Christians we have to believe that evil can be overcome with good. If we fail to believe this we have not only abound our Christian morals but our savior as well, who laid down his life, so that we may inherit life.

I don’t suppose that this is easy to live nonviolently in the face of such evil. However, what is easy and what is right don’t always go hand in hand.

Violence only begets violence. Violence will never lead to free peace.  In a totalitarian state violence may help to keep its subjects under submission and fear, but in the absences of that power violence will flood forth and all former peace will be lost. Peaceful non-violent action is the only way to sustain peaceful nonviolent action. We have to believe in the power of Christ love, but not only believe but also live it out. Then and only then will lasting peace be possible.


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