According to the Barna Group, the most cited pollster on American religion, young adults and teens say the problem of evil and suffering drives them away from faith. They struggle to find a compelling argument for the existence of both evil and a loving God.
When Barna asked non-Christian teens and young adults what kept them from religion, around 30 % of them cited the problem of suffering. How could a good and loving God allow so much evil and suffering?
This Sunday we’ll take that question head-on, when we explore the suffering of Jesus. Our Apostles’ Creed declares: “Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.”
When we begin with an abstract God – “omnipotent,” “omniscient,” “unchanging” — we come up against such questions.
But when we begin with Jesus, these problems dissolve away. In Jesus we see a God who heals and weeps with others (Jesus in his daily ministry); who’s in the struggle against evil (Jesus confronting corrupt rulers and religious leaders); who suffers (Jesus on the Cross).
I wish our young could experience the power of a suffering savior and what he shows us about the real God.
But – they can, if they watch our lives! What are we showing to our children, grandchildren, our household helpers and friends about the power of Jesus’s suffering?
This Sunday as we enter Holy Week, we’ll explore the Passion of Jesus Christ.