In Chapter 5, I run into my biggest struggle [my biggest problem] with Piper’s book so far. It feels a bit fatalistic to simply resign myself to the suffering I see. There is too much pain to simply bow to God’s sovereignty and go about my day.
Make no mistake; God is powerful and in control. Jesus is the center of all things. All things were created in him (John 1:3) and are held together in him (Colossians 1:17). He is the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13). The wind and the waves obey his voice (Luke 8:25). And yet, I’m not ready to stop asking questions.
I don’t want to dictate who lives or who dies; who suffers and who does not. But I would like to understand some rhyme and reason to the way things work. Just a glimpse of the plan.
Piper presents two choices in response to my questions: worship or curse. Given those choices I will choose worship. But that’s too simplistic. I will choose worship and still will ask questions. Why? Japan. Haiti. Pakistan. Cancer. AIDS. Violence. Abuse. “Why” is the question my non-Christian friends are asking and Piper’s Christian version of “live with it” and “get over it” doesn’t cut it.
C.S. Lewis’ answer – that this is the “best of all possible worlds” – has never seemed to cover it. Piper’s answer – a spiritual version of “suck it up” – certainly doesn’t. Even the answer that God gives Job – as good as it is – only goes so far.
In the end, I’m okay with not knowing all of the answers. I’m okay with “I’m God and you are not.” What I’m not content with is – “this is the way the world is, the way a sovereign God designed it;” and by implication, “there’s not much you can do about it.”
I have a little more free will than that. That’s why I’m here. That’s why God wants a relationship with me. So that empowered by the Spirit I can make some small difference.