Why Tragedy and Suffering?

The church I serve, Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC, is spending time on Saturday in prayer and (for some) fasting. Facing our current situation, we ask “Why?” As we gather, via Zoom, for Scripture reading and corporate prayer, one of the passages we will read is Luke 13:1–5. Jesus pushes us past simplistic answers to the why question. The following quotes are worth considering.

“By virtue of union with Christ, Paul is saying, the power of Christ’s resurrection is realized in the sufferings of the believer; sharing in Christ’s sufferings is the way the church manifests his resurrection-power.”

“Romans 8:18ff. especially disclose the breadth of what ought to be our conception of Christian suffering. Suffering has to be seen in the context of the “frustration”/“futility” (mataiotes), the “bondage to decay” to which the entire creation has been subjected, not by the inherent nature of things but because of God’s curse on Adam’s sin (v. 20-21 are, in effect, a Pauline commentary on Gen. 3). Suffering is a function of the futility/decay principle pervasively at work in the creation since the fall; suffering is everything that pertains to creaturely experience of this death-principle.” (Gaffin, “Theonomy and Eschatology: Some Reflections On Postmillennialism” pages 10 & 11)

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