Matthew 21: Reflections on Anger

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” Matthew 21:12-13

In the past when I’ve read the above verses, I have felt validated in my own anger by this example of Jesus’ anger. It’s a fantastic picture of His passion and his fierceness, two concepts that fire up my own intensity. However, when I was asked to do the scripture reading at my church a couple months ago, the Holy Spirit showed me a new perspective on this passage that took me deeper into understanding of the heart of God. Continue reading

The Problem of Pain

While walking through the deepest pits of human suffering with people, so often I hear the question “Why?” To face the reality of the presence of pain in our lives is one of the most difficult endeavors. A Google search to the question, “Why is there suffering in the world?” revealed answers by various religious organizations, including Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism. The most common religious answers sound something like this:

  • God gives humans freedom of choice, and we choose against his prescribed way of living, thus creating pain and causing suffering in our own lives and the lives of others.
  • God is either not powerful enough to stop pain, He does not care to stop pain, or He is evil and revels in the pain that wreaks havoc in the world.
  • God allows pain because He plans to use it in His great Redemptive Plan for His creation.
  • God uses pain to discipline and instruct His children.
  • God uses pain as a “megaphone” to get our attention, or as a warning against further evil.
  • The Bible says that “suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope.”
  • And finally, “Ultimately, we can’t know all the reasons God allows pain and suffering, we just know that He does.”

I do believe Scripture supports the majority of these explanations, but consider this: Continue reading