Archive for the ‘suffering not necessarily God's punishment’ Category

What crime, what fault, have these infants committed Who are crushed and bloody on their mother’s breast?

September 8, 2011

After the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, which killed 30,000 and left the city in ruins, Voltaire wrote a poem that questioned the Leibnizian notion, expressed most pithily in Pope’s famous words, “Whatever is, is right.” Divine providence being benign, this notion holds, all must be for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds, despite appearances to the contrary, and nothing could be other than it is. Voltaire sharply challenged this view in his “Poem on the Lisbon Disaster; Or an Examination of the Axiom that All Is Well.”

Will you say, on seeing this pile of dead:
“God is revenged, their death is the price of their crimes”?
What crime, what fault, have these infants committed
Who are crushed and bloody on their mother’s breast?
Did Lisbon, which is no more, have more vices
Than Paris, than London, which are sunk in pleasures?

Theodore Dalrymple

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood pPilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, q“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you rrepent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in sSiloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you rrepent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13

why are you not in here?

January 18, 2010

Pastor Martin Niemoller was well known for his opposition to the Nazi State.

Many times Nazi officials sat in his church to intimidate him by taking notes. Finally, they had had enough, and Niemoller was arrested. The next morning, in jail, the chaplain stopped by, who was also a Lutheran minister, and expressed surprise at seeing his friend, Martin Niemoller, behind bars. The chaplain said, ‘Brother, what did you do? Why are you in here?’ Niemoller’s response: ‘Brother, given what’s happening in our country, why are you not in here?'”

Why won’t we suffer for our saviour and stand up for truth? It is the christian at ease that is the anomoly – not the suffering Christian.

Oh! the thoughts of the hardship I thought my poor blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces

December 8, 2009

But notwithstanding these helps, I found myself a man and compassed with infirmities; the parting with my wife and poor children, hath often been to me in this place, as the pulling the flesh from the bones, and that not only because I am somewhat too fond of these great mercies, but also because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries, and wants that my poor family was like to meet with, should I be taken from them, especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all besides: Oh! the thoughts of the hardship I thought my poor blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces.

Poor child! thought I, what sorrow art thou like to have for thy portion in this world! Thou must be beaten, must beg, suffer hunger, cold, nakedness, and a thousand calamities, though I cannot now endure the wind should blow upon thee. But yet recalling myself, thought I, I must venture you all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you: Oh! I saw in this condition I was as a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children; yet, thought I, I must do it, I must do it.

John Bunyan, on the consequences of refusing to conform and being sent to prison for the truth of Scripture, in Grace Abounding 327-328, quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, pp.188-9

I begged of God that if I might do more good by being at liberty than in prison, that then I might be set at liberty; but if not, His will be done

December 8, 2009

I was not at all daunted but rather glad, and saw evidently that the Lord had heard me; for before I went down to the justice, I begged of God that if I might do more good by being at liberty than in prison, that then I might be set at liberty; but if not, His will be done; for I was not altogether without hopes but that my imprisonment might be an awakening to the saints in the country, therefore I could not tell well which to choose; only I, in that manner, did commit the thing to God.

John Bunyan, on the prospect of imprisonment, in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.188

I have determined, the Almighty God being my help and shield, yet to suffer, if frail life might continue so long, even till the moss shall grow on mine eye-brows rather than thus to violate my faith and principles

November 23, 2009

I have determined, the Almighty God being my help and shield, yet to suffer, if frail life might continue so long, even till the moss shall grow on mine eye-brows rather than thus to violate my faith and principles.

John Bunyan, A Confession of my Faith, and a Reason of my Practice, in which he gives a defence why he should have stayed in prison rather than conform. Quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press 2008, p.15

Leopold Socha hid ten Jews from Lvov in the sewers under the city from the Nazis

November 17, 2009

Leopold Socha hid ten Jews from Lvov in the sewers under the city from the Nazis. When the German army retreated he called down to them and told them they were free.

Some months later, Socha was accidentally killed, run over by a truck in the streets of Lvov. ‘As he lay on the pavement with blood dripping…the Poles crossed themselves and said that it was God’s punishment for hiding Jews.

Martin Gilbert, Holocaust, p.714

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