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Stay with God through the tough times
Brad Butler
Pastor Brad Butler First Baptist Church, Pembroke

I have a very large extended family. Dad was the eighth of nine, and Mom was the ninth of 10 children.

On both sides, those brothers and sisters obeyed the biblical command to be fruitful and multiply. I have 52 first cousins.

It is sobering to note that three of us graduated together in 1977. Scott and Carol have passed away. There were only 59 total students in that class. I know at least 10 of them are gone.

I am closer to 60 than 50. I get the senior discount today without asking. But it still takes your breath away when you think of lives taken too soon.

Something within us cries out at the injustice of young nursing students dying in an accident. We all cringe at the thought of an infant facing heart surgery, or a toddler dealing with cancer. It bothers us, and we cry out to God. Some have given up on him because of such tragedies. Often, the first reason many go toward atheism is the existence of evil and suffering.

Two things stand out to me. The first is simple, but often overlooked. If there is no God — that is, if there is no standard — then the very existence of good and evil is called into question. In other words, if there is no God, then death is neither good nor bad. It just is. If we are nothing more than a cosmic accident, then pain and suffering simply do not matter.

Clearly, I disagree with that line of thinking. So that leads to my next thought: There has to be something more than what we see and experience in this world. As a Christian, I point to this placed called heaven. I do believe it is real. I long for it to be real. There has to be a greater purpose in life. I’m counting on it.

I am certain this brief article will not have the power to change the mind of the committed atheist. But I hope that it will encourage you if you sometimes have doubts and questions. The very idea of good and evil cries out for the existence of God. He is the standard by which we measure good. And he can be trusted, even in the midst of suffering, to care for his children.

I hope you have trusted in him. He is faithful, no matter what you are facing.

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