Yesterday evening Leonora and I attended the weekly meeting of the Life group hosted by Roland and Sherry Loder. Seven attended, and we worked through the following discussion sheet on the first two sections of Randy Alcorn’s “If God Is Good Why Do We Hurt?” booklet. The discussion was preceded and followed by singing and prayer.
Life Group — If God Is Good Why Do We Hurt? (pages 7-13) — November 14, 2013
Before breaking for the summer we decided to study the problem of evil and suffering this fall using a booklet by Randy Alcorn based on his If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil (Multnomah Books, 2009). In preparation for the study we used our first three meetings of the fall to read some parts of the book of Job to see what they suggest about what the problem of evil. This week we’ll read and discuss the first two sections of the booklet. Below are some questions to think about in preparation for our discussing those sections.
What current experience of suffering by you or someone you know stands out to you at this time?
Question on “Introduction: The Search We All Share” (pages 7-11)
Why do you think that the problem of evil and suffering causes so many people to question the existence, goodness, or power of God?
Questions on “How Is Suffering Related to Evil?” (pages 11-13)
How does the way that the Bible uses “evil” differ from the way that most people use it today?
Why is it important to understand that evil is more than just the absence of good?
How did / does sin contribute to the origination and existence of suffering?
What questions do you have on the topic of evil and suffering?
Naturally the current experience of suffering that stood out to us at this time was the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. This was especially meaningful to us because of Leonora’s coming from the Philippines. Her immediate family lives in the southern Philippines and, although experiencing rain and wind, was spared the devastation that the typhoon brought to the central Philippines.
Everyone participated in our discussion of the other questions except for our omitting the questions on defining “evil” and “suffering” because we’d already considered the meaning of “evil” and “suffering” in our discussion of the other questions. Everyone’s participating in the discussion was a relief to me as I was tired and so didn’t do much more than read from the booklet and pose the questions.