Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bad Stuff Happens

Bad stuff happens.

A few days ago I read in the Dhaka, Bangladesh newspaper about a horrible accident that had occurred. A city bus had negligently run over a 5 year old boy and his mother. The boy was dead and his mother was in critical condition, but survived a head injury. As it turned out, the bus driver had a bogus drivers license. The bus had no mirror on the left-hand side where the accident occurred. The local newspaper headline screamed, “Menace-bus.”

I was shocked by the comment of the detained bus driver, Shamshur Rahman, “We have no hand in road accidents, as Allah decides it.”1 This reflects an Islamic world view. Personal responsibility is not an issue, everything is God’s will. Never mind that we didn’t have a mirror and the driver was unproven. It was Allah’s will. Rahman’s shirking of any responsibility seems to conflict with the spontaneous response of some of the passengers who “mildly” beat him before his arrest according to the paper.

Bad stuff happens.

In February 1946, Miss Toshinki Sasaki lay in a Japanese hospital in depression. She was hovering near death from physical and emotional injuries sustained in the atomic explosion at Hiroshima six months earlier. She had become “morbid and depressed” because of her circumstances and radiation sickness. She would be a semi-cripple for life due to a leg shattered in the blast. She was not a Christian, but a friend of Miss Sasaki called for a Catholic Priest to visit Sasaki. On his second visit, Father Kleinsorge, also a Hiroshima survivor who himself would have chronic illnesses for life due to the effect of the A-bomb, was asked “‘If your God is so good and kind, how can he let people suffer like this?’ She made a gesture which took in her shrunken leg, the other patients in her room, and Hiroshima as a whole. ‘My child,’ Father Kleinsorge said, ‘man is not now in the condition God intended. He has fallen from grace through sin.’2 It is man’s sinful condition that leads to evil, hurt, and destruction. Somehow this Christian explanation of the evil that fills this world chimed with Miss Sasaki. Why should this weak, ailing Priest spend his energy to visit her? Her depression began to lift. Her body healed. And eventually she took baptism and became an outstanding Christian, serving orphans.

It is the Christian worldview that provides an adequate answer to the question of Miss Sasaki. “If your God is so good and kind, how can he let people suffer like this?” We must note that it’s not only Christianity, but Islam, ancestor worship, Shintoism, and every other religion and worldview that have to answer this question. Even the atheist. Which answer leads to hope and life? The evils and tragedies that befall us are not God, but are the result of the sin-filled world we live in. It is mankinds sins in general that open the door for evil in the world. Not because of the individual sins of a little Muslim boy or a young Japanese girl does bad stuff happen to them. We all share in the responsibility. It is our corporate sin that has led to this. Pain. Injustice. God is not punishing us. He is feeling our pain, as He did in Christ’s death, and He is reaching out to console and give us hope to go on as He did to a young Japanese girl in a hospital in 1946. “For God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved…”3

1 The Daily Star, “Menace – Bus,” Dhaka (Vol. XX No. 22) Thursday February 4, 2010
2 John Hersey, “Hiroshima,” (United States: First Vintage Books, 1989) p 83
3 John 3:17 (New American Standard Bible

Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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