When tragedy strikes or suffering occurs, we often ask “why?” But Bob Russell says the better question is “who?”—as in “who is God and what is He doing as our hearts are hurting?”

Bob is the pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY and author of Acts of God: Why Does God Allow So Much Pain?. We welcome him to Connecting Faith to hear life lessons and to reflect on what the Old Testament story of Joseph can teach us on this all-important question. Here’s where our conversation takes us:

We begin by addressing that seemingly ever-present question. With so much pain in the world – from poverty to violence to diseases like AIDS – why does God allow hurt and pain in this world? Though it’s understandable to arrive at this point, Bob believes we need ask the question differently. Instead of “why?”, we should ask “to whom?”

As we look to our human past and to the current headlines, it is no surprise that we arrive at the “why?” plea. As Bob notes, that question has historically led to unbelief and frustration, particularly when we stare tragedy in its face. So where is God during the tough times? Why would He allow those things to happen?

We take a step back and ask, “Who is God?” & “Who is in charge?” Another question often heard in times of pain and difficulty is “Why did this happen to me?” It is true that there are certain questions we will never understand while we’re on this side of eternity. The Book of Job details immense pain and sadness experienced by a remarkably righteous man. So what did God say to Job when he began asking these familiar questions?

In the midst of questions we may continue to grapple with our whole lives, we can know something with utter certainty. God is in control!

Highlight – Waiting and hoping

Why the pain and suffering?

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