The Search We All Share
YOU MAY BE READING this booklet because you long to make sense of the evil and suffering in this world. You might be seeking answers to a philosophical problem, or perhaps you’ve lived long enough to recognize that suffering is inevitable, and you want to be prepared to face it.
Or, if abuse, desertion, debilitating disease, or the loss of a loved one has devastated you, then your suffering isn’t theoretical or philosophical. It’s deeply personal; you need comfort, not intellectual answers.
Three weeks after his thirty-three-year-old son Christopher died in a car crash, pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie addressed a crowd of twenty-nine thousand at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California: “I’ve talked about Heaven my whole life, and I’ve given many messages on life after death. I’ve counseled many people who have lost a loved one … But I have to say that when it happens to you, it’s a whole new world.” The day his son died, he told them, was “the hardest day of my life.”1
When I spoke with Greg ten months later, his faith was strong, but his profound sense of loss remained. Pain is always local. It has a face and a name—in Greg’s case, Christopher. You and I can fill in our own names.
The way we view such suffering will radically affect how we see God and the world around us. The problem of evil and suffering is the most common reason people give for not believing in God. A Barna Research poll asked, “If you could ask God only one question and you knew he would give you an answer, what would you ask?” The most common response was, “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?”2 This isn’t merely a problem; it’s the problem. And for the culture at large, it appears to pose a greater difficulty now ...