Suffering as Gift: A Third Layer of Reality

Article by Matthew Nelson

April 15, 2020

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Whenever great tragedy bears down upon us, we often react first with emotion, then logic. Once our physiology settles and our mental acuity returns, our second step is always to move into the realm of analysis. Why has this happened? Whose fault is it? How could it have been prevented?

Who among us hasn’t asked such questions in light of the present coronavirus pandemic?

On the Christian view, however, to rest solely with a logical reading of evil is to stop short of complete understanding. To stop at logic is to cheat oneself of the whole story. For Christians, who believe that God is at work in the world always and everywhere, there is ever something more profound going on than that which can be perceived by reason alone. For the Christian, there is always a mystical reading of evil, a deeper layer of explanation and understanding anchored in the cross of Christ, which offers real hope for what is to come.