There are many things in life we struggle to explain.
This week in our Lent course we are thinking about the ‘problem of pain’.
Why would a loving God allow pain in the world?
Both our Old Testament and New Testament readings focus on Abraham. Abraham waited 25 years before his son of the promise was born; during that time he learnt to rely on God more and more, and trusted in him.
‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’
In order to understand pain, and why God allows good people to suffer, we can do two things;
we can look to see what it is that God does about pain,
and seek to grow in our faith through the pain.
Nicodemus asked Jesus what signs he had to show he was from God. Jesus challenged Nicodemus with something beyond his imagining.
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
Just as the Israelites in the desert had to trust Moses when he said that merely looking at the staff with the snake would bring their healing, so we have to understand that we must turn to Christ and look to him for ours. Please don’t misunderstand this as an easy message. it is not; but we have to trust in God.
As with most spiritual questions, the answers we come up with depend on what we are prepared to believe. However if we are able to let go of our own preconceptions and learn to trust in God, and by that I mean really trust him whatever the result, we often find that Jesus opens our eyes and the blessings do come.
Rev Stuart Huntley, Rector
3Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ 3Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ 4Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’5Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ 9Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ 10Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 ‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.