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September 28 , 2008

Death and Suffering: A Christian Perspective

Facing the difficulties of life, #1


This book came as a result of me looking for answers to some of those questions that burn in our hearts and minds when a young person dies. For me, it was the death of my niece, Debbie. This book started as just a list. Later I taught it in our midweek services at the church. Eventually I taught a class in our church on grief and I got more serious in fleshing out this paper into a book. As I worked on the book, the direction broadened. I not only focused on why tragedy happens, but also important considerations we must explore as we face any kind of suffering. What we learn in dealing with an untimely death often applies to other difficult situations in life as well.

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I consider the deaths of young people as untimely deaths. An untimely death can come in many forms. Some seek escape from unpleasant situations in life by committing suicide, some die of health problems and complications. Others die in unfortunate accidents and some are murdered. Physical death isn’t the only kind of event that brings difficult questions into our life, or causes us to question God. People experience death of relationships through divorce, or death of their childhood through abuse or rape. There is also the death of a dream caused by such events as having a miscarriage, losing a home in a foreclosure, or losing a long held job, or not being able to continue on or finish college.

We all form ideas and develop a personal views of life through our experiences, but suffering a loss of a loved one or experiencing a great difficulty is an invitation by God to explore our life from His perspective. In this book we will look at various facets of suffering and the kinds of questions that come to our mind, for which we are seeking answers. Facing the difficulties of life becomes our time to engage in various kinds of questioning. We seek to understand life, consider how we have conducted our life, as well as how God and the teaching of His word relates to us in such times.

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