Being an Internet Movie Database addict, Star Wars geek and owner of many movie themed t-shirts, I often watch ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’ on one of those (mostly) pointless sky channels. It features a Hollywood star being interviewed and always ends with them being asked the same six or seven quirky and often insightful questions. In a recent episode, Matt Damon caused me to have ‘one of those thoughtful moments’ when answering the very last question.
“If Heaven does exist, what would you like God to say when you arrive at the pearly gates…?” – to which Jason Bourne replied: “That all of the suffering that I saw or heard about, or knew was happening – that there was a point to it.”
Even as a Christian – or maybe that should read especially as a Christian – the whole suffering thing can be a tough one to get your head around. Bad things happen, of course – but why all the suffering?
Over the summer, my wife and I both experienced and witnessed suffering very close to home on a number of occasions. It was a difficult period and, I admit, there were times when I looked to the skies, shrugged my shoulders and wondered if God had left his phone off the hook.
But if only Matt Damon knew – if only any of us knew, how much the tragedies, heartache, hunger and unhappiness that fill every corner of the globe affected our Creator, we would realise that His heart breaks each and every time a child is abused, somebody starves or a marriage ends – and that He feels it a hundred times more than we do.
God answers prayers and works miracles every day but when He chooses not to, it’s because a) something bigger is going on, and b) the tough times are when we grow closer to Him, which is all He wants. He demands our trust, and for that we receive a love, joy and peace that cannot be found anywhere else. I guess that’s why we call it faith.
1 Peter 1:6 says: ‘So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine.’