Summary Lesson 28: “O God, Where Art Thou?”
- “Sinking to New Heights:” A phrase comes to mind that may help explain the apparent helplessness of many of God’s choicest leaders, it is “sinking to new heights.” The Savior’s exquisite atonement for us has been somewhat foreshadowed or mirrored in the depths to which Job, Jonah, Nephi, Alma, Peter, Joseph Smith and many others, sank.
- How Does God Allow This? “If God is all-powerful and good, as Judaism claims He is, how is it possible that He allows His creatures to suffer? The Bible is aware that suffering and pain are characteristic of human existence . . . the Book of Habakkuk . . . says that ‘the righteous man must live by his faith.’ This seems to mean that it is beyond the ability of human intelligence to understand the question and that man must have faith that God is doing the right thing . . .” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Suffering: “The rabbis of the Talmud believed that it is a great religious virtue to bear one’s suffering ‘with love,’ i.e., patiently and without becoming rebellious. “Judaism absolutely forbids inflicting suffering on other people and even on animals. Also, no man may ignore the suffering of others but must do everything in his power to help remedy the situation. This applies to physical suffering, to poverty and to psychological suffering. Furthermore, no man has the right to enjoy himself if the rest of the community is suffering.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Chosen to Suffer: On one occasion, a professor of religion went to the Western (wailing) Wall, microphone in hand, and began asking religious Jews why they were chosen. One responded, “We are chosen to suffer.” Later, in making a point, about the suffering of the Savior, the professor said, “No one is chosen to suffer other than the Lord.” Yet, the difficulties, calamities, and sufferings of the Jews will ultimately bring them closer to the Lord who covenanted to remember and save His people. Our sufferings bring us closer to Him and those that have the highest responsibilities of serving Him often suffer greatly. They “sink to new heights.”