Lights in the Darkness to Understand Suffering (Part 1)

Seventy-five years ago, Pastor James Stewart outlined some “lights in the darkness” as it pertained to the mystery of suffering and sorrow in our world.  he admitted that it was nearly impossible to solve the mystery in  way that compelled everyone BUT if asked, “Do you see any places where it’s not as dark, where there might be beams of light to illuminate the mystery?” he said yes.

#1 The beneficence of inexorable law.

A good deal of tragedy is due to the working of certain uniform principles which govern the universe. Gravitation, for instance. An airplane whose engine fails may crash. But the point to notice is that the same laws which are responsible for human suffering are also the indispensable sources of most of the things that make like worth living.

If we lived in a universe without these laws our predicament would be infinitely worse.

Gravitation may mean a crash of a plane but remember that without gravitation you could not walk along the street, not travel by car, not launch a ship.  Life would become unlivable.

Think about the properties of fire that give out heat. Some days those properties mean that 100 people, trapped in a blazing building, are burnt to death. Do you wish that fire would not behave like that? Then it would cease to be fire and all its well-being would be lost.

You cannot love all the assets of life and refuse their liabilities.

Stewart then illustrates his point with a football game where the goal line was movable. The whole game depends on the goal lines being fixed to one consistent spot even though there are times we prefer it to be closer or farther away.

#2 Our membership of one another.

Much of innocent suffering is due to the fact that we are mixed up together. If a man plays the fool, others are ruined. If one country breaks faith, others are plunged into war.

Would we be better off an island to ourselves with no human interaction? Think of what we owe to human fellowship. The bread we eat, the clothes we wear, the car we drive, the books you read, the medical help we need are all available because of others’ labors.

 

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