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The Alex McFarland Show-101-A Christian Response to Pain and Suffering

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2024 12:00 am

The Alex McFarland Show-101-A Christian Response to Pain and Suffering

Alex McFarland Show / Alex McFarland

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March 19, 2024 12:00 am

Why is there evil in the world?  Why do bad things happen to good people? On this week's episode of the Alex McFarland Show, Alex has guest Dana on the show. Dana grew up in Cambodia and is a survivor of the attacks of Khmer Rouge. Together, they discuss the answer to the problem of pain and suffering and what the Christian response is to this as well.  How we can reconcile the goodness of God with the reality of pain and evil in the world. 

Scriptures:  

Proverbs 14:34 

Alex McFarland

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The spiritual condition of America, politics, culture, and current events, analyzed through the lens of scripture. Welcome to the Alex McFarland Show. Welcome to the program. Have you ever grappled with the question, why is there evil in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people?

Hi, Alex McFarland here. I hope you're doing well. We've got a great show today and we're going to be talking with an individual who survived the killing fields of Cambodia.

And the reason I'm bringing this up is because here in the United States of America, really arguably, we have it better than any other people group in world history. And yet I meet people and they'll say, you know, why are things the way they are? Well, if you've ever grappled with why is life hard, then listen to the following program as we talk about someone who went through unimaginable torture and pain, and yet loves God, trusts God, and knows that he is a God of care and comfort. And there is an answer to the problem of pain and suffering. And later on in the show, we'll answer the Christian response of why is there pain and suffering? How do I reconcile the goodness of God with the reality of pain and evil in the world?

Hi, Alex McFarland here. On this program, we're going to talk about a subject called a Christian response to pain and suffering. I've got an article that was just released about a week ago and it's on the Newswire services about the question, why do evil things happen in the world?

I've been at many an American university and professors, very often well-paid, pampered Westerners will say, well, bad things happen. There must not be a God. And of course the answer is it's a fallen sinful world. And Jesus came to save us from sin. But we're going to talk with someone here who is a Christian and she has experienced evil.

Now, very famously in the seventies and eighties, we heard about the killing fields of Cambodia, Khmer Rouge, if I'm pronouncing that correctly, but Dana is a survivor of that, a delightful Christian that I met in our travels across Midwestern America recently. But first of all, Dana, it's a great fellowship with you as a sister in Christ. And thank you for your time at our event this weekend.

Thank you. I enjoy being here at your services that you held here at this church. And you're a Christian.

Yes, I am. Your background is one of pain and danger that I think very few listeners could even imagine. You grew up in Cambodia, right? I did. I was born in Buddhism and I didn't, for me, I, I questioned what it was and there was no answer given to me.

And I was not allowed to ask questions because when you ask question, you are being disrespectful. And so I, I think for me, the Lord Jesus knew my heart and he has chosen my life with him on my behalf. When I didn't know anything, I didn't know what a Bible was. Never heard Jesus name until I was about 11, um, through a piece of paper that I think what I understand now, it was a tract that said, prayer, meaning that the Lord Jesus is Lord.

And something happened to me when I read that name and I took it home to show my mother. And, um, she said that he's an American God, but she wonder herself when she's reading that paper, you know, who is he? Buddhism doesn't believe in God, but my mother did. She knew of God's existence because of what her heart was like. You know, I think when someone is kind of longing for our creator, even when we didn't understand, we, we believe we have a sense that there is a God, you know, I didn't understand that, but I think that moment, the Lord Jesus awakened my soul because I didn't know what I mean when I made it here to California, to United States. Um, I was reading my roommate's Bible and in there I read King David said, awake all my soul. And right then I realized that's what happened to me. You know, my wife and I have been around the world and I've been in many nations outside of America and people would say, I know there's a God.

Uh, you look at the mountains and somebody had to create those, or you look at the sunrise and somebody hung the planets in space. And, uh, isn't it a beautiful thing that that knowledge, there must be a God and then it bears fruit in terms of a relationship with Jesus Christ. Dana, what did it mean to you when you realized that Jesus loves you personally and Jesus died on the cross and rose again and that in spite of a painful world, a dangerous world, a world of killing fields in some places like your homeland of Cambodia, but Jesus is the answer, not only forgiveness and salvation, but deliverance. What did that mean to you? Um, at first I did not fully understand what that meant, but I liked what was happening to me when I started reading my roommate's Bible. Cause I didn't have one of my own. I couldn't let go. I couldn't stop reading it. I was so drawn to it because God's word has always been soothing and healing to me.

For me, it would just like eating food like you've been starving your whole life and you just can't stop eating this food, you know, and then that's what it was for me. What do you think American Christians should know? I mean, there, there are a lot of people that have been through pain and suffering, but there are many, uh, and I've interacted with a lot of like college professors that have lived very posh, very affluent lives. They've had what the world would call a great blessings and yet they curse God and deny God. What would you say to pampered Westerners that maybe they've been insulated from reality and they deny God?

What would you say to them? I think each person on this earth has suffer in some way or the other material things can blind each of us. And I'm guilty of that also. But I think the question is like, Jesus asked, can you not pray with me for an hour? So, you know, an hour is not that long to pray.

So let's not talk about what the world's doing. Let's talk about what the church is not doing. Are we spending hour in prayer because a lot of pain and suffering for me, when I feel uncomfortable on the easy about something, I just go someplace quiet and just be in God's presence, then my discomfort emotionally or mentally would go away. And I am healed from mental and emotional pain because of my prayer time with the Lord.

A lot of people suffer in so many ways. And I think some of that is our own personal sin that causes mental and emotional pain. But through prayer, we can learn to do that an hour a day. Amen. I completely agree that when we do pray and when we draw in close to Jesus, not only are we aware of our need for Jesus, we get convicted of sin and we repent.

But I think there's not only renewal of our spirit and our soul, but healing of our body and life and blessing. Well, when we come back, we're going to continue our conversation with Dana. This is Alex McFarland, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, from that to eternal life in Jesus. That's Dana's story. We're going to come back right after this. Don't go away. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert.

Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. In recent years, our nation has suffered greatly, and we seem to be on a rapid moral decline. We've rejected God, morality, and we've almost completely lost our sense of patriotism. It's no wonder that many are asking the question, is this the end of America? Hi, Alex McFarland here, and I want to make you aware of my book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. You know, our nation has seen politicians that are corrupted by greed, and they've got a vested interest in power, and many of our elected officials seem to care little about the country that they've been appointed to serve. Read my book, The Assault on America, We Can Stand Up for Our Great Nation and Defend America Before It's Too Late.

It's available everywhere. You can learn more on my own website, which is alexmcfarland.com. Read the book, The Assault on America, How to Defend Our Nation Before It's Too Late. He's been called trusted, truthful, and timely. Welcome back to The Alex McFarland Show. In Proverbs 1434, the Bible says, Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

Hi, Alex McFarland. We're continuing our conversation with our sister in Christ, Dana. You know, Proverbs 1434, righteousness exalts or blesses a nation. People are saved. People are blessed, and culture is stable and safe, and life is valued when Christ is present. But sin, the absence of God's Word, the rejection of God's truth, brings a people down. That's been the story of so many nations, and America right now is in a crossroads.

Are we going to return to Jesus Christ and affirm the Gospel, or will a drift and a falling away continue? First of all, Dana, I want to say you are such a blessing to Angie and me, and I thank you for the few moments to talk together. You really inspire me, and I thank you. Yeah, you're welcome.

Likewise, I have been blessed by you and Angie this weekend. So let's talk a little bit about Cambodia, because the leader Pol Pot, he was influenced in his education towards Marxism, and I've actually taught on the life of Karl Marx. And Karl Marx, he stated as one of his goals was to erase the knowledge of God and Christianity. So Pol Pot's Marxist teaching that he got in France, what did that do to Cambodia?

He destroyed it. So if someone were to say, like the church, Christianity diminishing, just like what you put up there from Fox News, that's a scary thought. Because if you compare someone who really knows the Lord Jesus Christ, that person bring truth and blessing everywhere he and she goes. Missionaries have sacrificed.

It's not easy for someone to travel from the comfort of United States to go to a third world and bring food and clothing and blessing of every kind to those people. And you have to compare the work of those people, what they're doing, the blessing of the Lord Jesus Christ that they carry with them everywhere they go. And then people who don't believe in Jesus, look, what are they doing?

The abuse and evil that's in the world, who's committing that? It's people who don't believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, there have been church people who might do things that they shouldn't do, but those are not people who understand who Jesus is. They might be just church goers. But people who know who Jesus is will bring blessings all over. You know, I think people all over the world have received blessing from this country and mainly from church people, from Christians. Amen.

Amen. You were sharing about your father and when he suddenly wasn't in your life anymore. Could you tell us about that? What became known?

This was in 1970. My mother also believed that what became known as Khmer Rouge came and took him at gunpoint and took him away. And I remember staring at him. He was not afraid of them because one of them that came in was related to him. We had just sat down to eat and one of them point a gun at him and motion for him to stand up. And then they took him away. That afternoon, my grandfather, his dad, came to visit us also, and he was walking with a cane.

He was too slow that night. Somewhere they let him go because he was keeping them down. We never saw him alive again. Your father?

Right. After they took my father and my grandfather, they went to my father's cousin's house and took him and his dad. And they took him and they let my father's cousin's dad go. And my mother went and asked this man, I don't remember his name, what happened. And he said that they weighted everyone down with weight and drowned them all, which was not, my mother didn't believe that he said that because if they wanted to kill these men, they could have just shot him dead right then. So I don't know what involvement that my father was in with them.

In Cambodia, men did not share what they were into with their wives. So my mother didn't know either, but we never saw my father again. And I was only eight years old. Have you been back to Cambodia to look for your family? I was, it's been 27 years ago. I went back and I, my mother died.

She never knew that I came here. And when I went back, I did not speak the language. So I needed a translator. So it was just the pain that I lived through.

I don't think I could have made it without some damage. If the Lord had not been with me to heal me along the way from all those mental and emotional pains that I suffer most of my life, you know, the Lord has healed me along the way to restore me to good mental and emotional health. Amen.

Amen. Dana, as we conclude, I want to ask your opinion on this because at a lot of American universities where I'll go and speak, professors, they're very enamored with Marxism and some know that Marxism is atheistic, rejects Christianity. And a lot of these people that are in positions of leadership, they criticize America. They don't understand the greatness of America that I, as I travel the world, people the world over, they love America. They know that America has done good things, but America's goodness was an outflow of Christianity. Now my question for you is this, what would you say to those, because you lived in a culture that was under the influence of Marxism, what would you say to those that I think naively want to change America from God and Christianity to secularism, Marxism, atheism?

What warning might you give us? I think they are being deceived to believe something that doesn't work. So for those people, if they were to test what life can be like, move to China under communism, move to Russia, move to any communist country, move to a poor. So poverty is from the devil.

He wants to keep people oppressed and stupid because intelligence is from Jesus. Amen. I wasn't born here. I can do anything.

I'm 62 years old. I'm going back to college to get IT and I'm a, I have A's and B's in my report card because I do my homework. I think prosperity of this country is definitely God's blessing. We can't live life without Jesus because I mean each of us, we're capable of so much bad things that we would hurt each other and abuse each other. The only reason we don't do it because we know the Lord doesn't want us to be that way.

He has changed our hearts, our thinking, our behavior, and he will stop us as we learn to be like him from doing anything bad, from disobeying him. Well, I didn't know you were going back to college. I commend you. That is wonderful. That is great. And congratulations for being an honor roll student.

Thank you. You said earlier about evil that exists in the world and people, I think, you know, I think sometimes it was like, he's in charge. Why doesn't he do anything about it? Well, God's in charge of the whole universe. Why doesn't he stop evil?

Now, if he were to stop, he would have stopped in the book of Genesis and everything started over, but he's not like that. He's long suffering. He is suffering with us.

Evil is from the devil. He's on the loose. So the only safe place is to stay in that small circle that Jesus drawn for us.

Stay close to him. He will protect us. If we live life of disobedience to Christ, we will suffer because we are stepping outside that boundary. You are a blessing. I want to say thank you for visiting with us a few moments today on the program, but even more importantly, thank you for your witness for Christ. You've inspired us and blessed us and we hope to visit again soon.

Yeah. Thank you very much. I appreciate getting to meet you. Look forward to listening to you on the radio, Dr. McFarland. Folks, we'll be back after this. May God bless you.

Stay tuned. Fox News and CNN call Alex McFarland a religion and culture expert. Stay tuned for more of his teaching and commentary after this. Christian author and speaker Alex McFarland is an advocate for Christian apologetics teaching in more than 2200 churches around the world, schools and college campuses. Alex is driven by a desire to help people grow in relationship with God. He arms his audiences with the tools they need to defend their faith while also empowering the unchurched to find out the truth for themselves. In the midst of a culture obsessed with relativism, Alex is a sound voice who speaks timeless truths of Christianity in a timely way. With 18 published books to his name, it's no surprise that CNN, Fox, the Wall Street Journal and other media outlets have described Alex as a religion and culture expert. To learn more about Alex and to book him as a speaker at your next event, visit alexmcfarland.com or you can contact us directly by emailing booking at alexmcfarland.com. Welcome back to the program. And before we conclude, let me encourage you to go to the newly redesigned alexmcfarland.com.

There's a lot there. The website has been redesigned and let me encourage you to go to the calendar tab. We've got our youth camps coming up equipretreat.org is that website and by the way, we really need God to provide $50,000 for the 1200 teens and middle schoolers that will be in our youth camps all summer long.

We're trying to woke proof America's kids. And by the way, for all of our publishing events broadcasting, we're on radio and television seven days a week, millions and millions of people hearing the gospel, thousands and thousands of salvation decisions a year. And folks, I just want to thank everybody that donates and you can give securely online at alexmcfarland.com where you can mail a contribution and every donation is gratefully received faithfully handled. And if you care to correspond or send in a check to Alex McFarland ministries, we're deeply grateful. The mailing address is P.O.

Box 10231 Greensboro, North Carolina 27404. And please know that we're grateful. Also on the calendar, let me encourage everybody to join us at the Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center in western North Carolina. Angie and I will be there July 12th through 14th.

I'll be teaching 1st John, the believers identity in Christ, the believers authority in Christ. And the Cove is wonderful five star chef, the food, the accommodations. And I was just talking to the Cove a couple of days ago. Even though it's four months away, it's nearly sold out. It's nearly full. You know, about a year ago we were there and a family came from Germany.

We had eight people come from India one year. And it's just amazing people from all 50 states and internationally. And so we want you to join us and please plan to be with us at the Cove, July 12th to 14th. My speaking tour we've got by the time you hear this will probably be in the middle of a great evangelistic crusade in Texas. A lot going on more all the time. Go to Alex McFarland dot com.

Look at the calendar. Please pray, promote and plan to attend and know that we are deeply grateful for all of your participation. Well, the topic, why does a good God allow evil things to happen? As we conclude, you heard the story of Dana who survived the killing fields of Cambodia, praising God, a devout Christian. And so many people that I talk with in the West, the prosperous, affluent America that we enjoy, they'll say, you know, well, this or that happened. I've had atheists say to me, you know, a loved one got cancer and died.

And if there is a God in heaven, that shouldn't have happened. Well, C.S. Lewis dealt with many of the common objections against Christianity that are still heard today.

And C.S. Lewis once compared the atheist arguments against God to an inmate in an asylum writing the word darkness over and over on the wall. The arguments framed against God succeed in blotting him out to the same degree that the insane person's fixation on darkness shuts off the reality of the sun.

In other words, not at all. Look, this is not the world that God created, at least in the sense that sin has come into the world. The world is broken. The world is fallen. And if you've ever looked around the world and said things ought not be this way, well, the good news is God looked at this world and agreed things ought not be this way. That's why God sent his son Jesus to be our savior.

Very soon, in a few weeks, the world will celebrate Easter. That tomb is empty. And you and I have been to that empty tomb.

And you go in there and there's a sign on the wall that says, he is not here. He is risen, as he said. See, God keeps 100 percent of his promises. And when people, they'll say, well, you know, this world of deceit and death and danger would be different if God were truly real. Some people reason maybe God doesn't know how to fix the world, or maybe God is malicious and doesn't want to fix it, or maybe God wants to fix it but is unable. Now, if you agree to these premises, and this goes back from time immemorial, maybe God allows evil to exist because he is not completely good. Maybe evil and suffering and pain and death exist because God is not powerful enough or not wise enough. But in any of these scenarios, the classically orthodox view of God is compromised.

Here is what biblical orthodoxy says. God is good. God is wise. God is omnipotent. And God knows all things.

He is omniscient. And yet, for a temporary moment, there has been sin. And with disobedience, sin, death, separation from God. And so when people complain about the problem of pain, let's really ask ourselves, you know, what are we expecting God to do? Because if God suddenly just snaps his fingers and all evil is swept under the rug, how is he righteous? And the beautiful thing about the cross is God's righteousness was maintained, God's law was upheld, and yet God's grace was manifested. Because the appropriate measure of wrath that we all deserved was put on Jesus.

I mean, you think about this. Even someone that we think is inherently good, like a Mother Teresa or a Billy Graham. And while they did live exemplary lives, and their actions and their lives were very, very, very reflective of godliness, even so, they were sinners.

You think about somebody that we would define as quote bad, Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, a terrorist. They are bad, but we're all sinners. And so what happened on the cross of Calvary was that a perfect man, in fact, the God man, Jesus Christ, he didn't deserve death, because he had committed no sin. But yet, the wrath of God for human iniquity was put onto Jesus. My sin, I'm a sinner, but I'm a forgiven sinner.

I hope you've trusted Christ. The punishment, the wrath, the judgment that we all deserved was deflected onto Jesus. So as we close, when we demand that God deal with evil and sin, be careful, because in that sin and evil are you and I. And if we're saying, God, judge this fallen world, well, be careful, because that means God would judge us as well. So what we need to say is God have mercy on me, a sinner. See, here's the fallacy that the atheist commits. The atheist says bad things happen, therefore there is no God. Well, if there is no ultimate standard of righteousness from which we measure, then it makes no sense to praise anything as virtuous or condemn anything else as evil.

The only way that we can make value judgments, at least the only way we can meaningfully make value judgments, is the fact that there is a holy standard from which we measure, and that standard is God. Have you accepted his forgiveness? There is no other way. If we don't accept Jesus, there's no second chance. There's no plan B. The Bible asks the question, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

The answer is we won't. Spurgeon said this as I close, none will escape if they reject Jesus, but none will be rejected who come to Jesus. That's the answer to pain and suffering, to come to the one who is forgiveness, healing, and life, the Lord Jesus. If we can help you come to Christ or come back to Christ, reach out to us.

Let us know. Alex McFarland Ministries are made possible through the prayers and financial support of partners like you. For over 20 years, this ministry has been bringing individuals into a personal relationship with Christ and has been equipping people to stand strong for truth. Learn more and donate securely online at alexmcfarland.com. You may also reach us at Alex McFarland, P.O. Box 10231, Greensboro, North Carolina 27404, or by calling 1-877-YES-GOD and the number 1.

That's 1-877-Y-E-S-G-O-D-1. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again on the next edition of the Alex McFarland Show. Over the last several decades, it's been my joy to travel the world talking with children, teens, adults, people of all ages about the questions they have related to God, the Bible, Christianity, and how to know Jesus personally.

Hi, Alex McFarland. I want to make you aware of my book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity. You know, we interviewed hundreds of children and parents and families to find out the questions that children and people of all ages are longing to find answers for. In the book, we've got practical, biblical, real-life answers that they have about how to be a Christian in this modern world. My book, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask, you can find it wherever you buy books or at resources.afa.net.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-19 02:14:56 / 2024-03-19 02:25:55 / 11

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