"Ideals are peaceful. History is violent." Sgt. Don "Wardaddy" Collier (Brad Pitt) in the movie "Fury."
This was a tough movie to watch, but over the holidays, my son and I went. Sgt. Collier uses this line with a new soldier in his tank crew who has objections over killing people he doesn't know (the Germans/World War II). Collier has spent the war in his tank with his crew successfully staying alive in some of the worst campaigns in Africa and Italy. He has grown to hate the Nazis, and possibly even the entire German people, for their destruction and killing, and the hate has taken its toll on what possibly was a nice kid from the country before the war started. In a scene that tests the soldier, as well as the viewer (what would you do?), he shoots a captured German soldier (SS whom he detests the highest) to teach the new soldier how to kill.
His statement is truth. History is violence. Man has continued to show during our time on earth our capacity to deliver new and cruel methods of destruction and death to our fellow man. Sure, history has given us greatness, but more often than not, our history as mankind has been marred by war, fear of war, death, starvation (sometimes delivered intentionally at the hands of a despot) and our ability to deliver cruelty to others (slavery, genocide). This creates the question, "How can God let this happen?"
In our modern society, this question is push back from people to those of us in faith. How does a God of love allow bad things to happen? Fair question really. However, it isn't the first time this question has been asked. It's been asked in scripture. Job asks why when he lost everything. David asks in the Psalms, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1) Christ asks while on the cross, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mathew 27:46)
We separated ourselves from God when we broke from him. This separation is real and it is painful. "We know that the whole creation has been groaning, as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." (Romans 8:23) In truth, we don't know why God allows such things to happen, and we cannot speak for God. In truth, we know that God is as grieved by our pain and suffering as we are. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets..." (Matthew 23:37) is how Christ laments over the separation of us from God. Finally, we do know God is a God of love and mercy showing us grace daily by answering our requests. As I hear our questioning of God and how He can allow such to occur on earth, sometimes I think I hear, "I didn't like the answer."
So, how to respond? Interestingly, we know from these passages that we should take our suffering, and even our anger over our suffering, to God. These passages and others instruct us that God desires for us to take our concerns to Him. We know in each of these passages that God does answer, and that sometimes the answer isn't what we were hoping for. We know we can pray to our God for suffering, ours and others. We know we can talk to God about such matters in life including the unfairness of it all. As Paul writes about his own suffering and Christ's response: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor 12:9) Pray for those who suffer that God may grant a measure of relief. Pray for healing and remedy from suffering. Pray that God's will be done on earth. Finally, when possible, pray that we be able to comfort those who are in the midst of suffering and that God grant us the ability to bring relief to those in need.
Hope Men's Ministry