God is unfair because he got me an Aston Martin

Steve Coogan said something interesting on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show this morning. I missed most of the interview unfortunately, as I find Coogan very funny.

I tuned in to find them talking about cars, unsurprisingly, and Steve was reminiscing about how his mum (grandma?) told him that the fact he has an Aston Martin is evidence for God’s existence, as when he was a child, he prayed that one day God would give him one.

Steve, an atheist, as Chris reminded him, commented on his mother’s statement by saying that God seems to be very unfair in that he causes tsunamis to happen but would get him an Aston Martin.

It’s an old argument, and on the face of it, a good one. God can’t exist, because if he did, he wouldn’t send tsunamis, or at least he would stop them from happening. Tsunamis could be replaced by any other natural disaster or illness. Earthquakes. Cancer. Terrorism.

But what a hopeless world we would live in if us humans were left to our own devices. Stumbling our way through life-changing and life-destroying catastrophes, with no hope. With no source of comfort. What do you do when your whole family apart from you has been wiped out in an earthquake? What do you do when you are given months to live?

Do you say, God can’t exist, because if he did, my family would still be alive? Or, God can’t exist, because if he did, then I wouldn’t be dying?

The problem to this comes when we ask ourselves where the line is. When should God “reach down” and stop whatever “bad” thing is happening from happening? What event is so serious that its occurrence can be deemed proof enough that God doesn’t exist? God can’t be real because I have eczema. God can’t be real because I am unemployed. God can’t be real because my cat got run over. When do bad things get so bad that God should actually step in and stop them from happening? Where’s the line?

Many people have always been tragically killed, throughout history. One time, a tower in a place called Siloam fell and crushed eighteen people. Jesus talked about this disaster in a different context to the argument of God’s existence, but in the context of sin. Did these people deserve to die because they were worse “sinners” that anybody else? Jesus says that is missing the point, as well as incorrect. And to say that the existence of tsunamis rules out the existence of God is equally missing the point.

[Luke 13:1] About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. [2] “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? [3] Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. [4] And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? [5] No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”

Thank God that he isn’t just existing – he is actively loving and comforting and helping and saving through all of the terrible things that happen on the earth. It’s a tragedy that people assume he is far away when catastrophe strikes, because he is very near, and wanting to rescue us from something far more deathly than a falling tower, or a tsunami, or a hijacked plane. Jesus came to save us from sin. “I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”

The Range

We went to The Range in Huddersfield to buy some cake-making resources, as recommended by a friend.

It’s pretty much the best shop I’ve seen. Ever? Depends on what you visit any particular shop for, I guess. If you want to buy a new camera, don’t go to The Range. But if you want anything for your house or general life, visit The Range first. It has an amazing selection of goods.

In fact, we were walking round in awe of their products, when I said “This shop has the biggest range of… Ohhh, THAT’S why it’s called The Range!”

Do you know what God is doing?

I think this article – Preaching Under Pressure – from the Hillsong Church blog includes some really helpful tips. One thing that stuck out for me was this sentence:

As teachers, it is crucial to always be in the Word, meditating and having thoughts prepared – whether you are rostered to speak or not.

What a challenge to always be aware of what God is saying to you, and to be ready to share it at an instant.

When’s the last time anybody asked you what God is doing in your life right now? Or what he’s been talking to you about from his Word? Would you be able to give an answer?

I’m a sports pro

I was never the sportiest kid around, but I loved playing most sports, and still do. It’s the competitive side of me. I love playing football especially, but I’m really not great at it. It’s a bit embarrassing really. Plus I go bright red, and always have done, whenever I do any sort of exercise.

I remember once being into basketball as a child, and we had an outdoor basketball court at our primary school. I was playing basketball with a couple of my friends and some older kids, teenagers. I don’t know the technical term for it, but I got one basket. Got the ball in the hoop. Once.

It was a great shot. People congratulated me on it, in a kind of patronising “we know you’re pants at this but you got a basket so well done” kind of way. I didn’t mind.

I was proud of that shot, and still am.

Consider it nothing but joy

We should expect to go through heartache and pain, suffering and loss, because they are part of what it means to be human, and they can be useful in our development. As James said, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful God