This sermon explores what philosophers often refer to as “the problem of evil.” The problem is articulated like this:
a. if God is all powerful…
b. if God is all good…
c. why is there evil?
But there is actually a “two-fold” problem here. There is the intellectual challenge (the abstract argument above) and then there is the “emotional” challenge (“why did this happen?”) which is probably the issue for most people.
After presenting what philosophers widely regard as the “solution” to the so-called problem of evil (by adding a third variable: is it possible that God has a morally sufficient reason for permitting suffering), the sermon puts three questions to its audience:
1. are you willing to worship a God you know could have prevented suffering, but for reasons beyond your comprehension, did not?
2. are you willing to grieve with someone who is grieving without falling into the temptation of feeling you need to answer the “why” questions?
3. are you willing to allow God’s solution to the problem of suffering be the rock upon which your faith stands, holding you firm no matter what life throws at you?
The sermon is based on the story of Jesus and Lazarus in John 11:1-44.