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When Happiness Comes

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"The solution to this problem involves, among other things, a recognition of need. To try to make toughness the solution is to try to avoid the recognition of the problem. The 'realistic' solution is actually a denial of reality, and the reality is that we are needy."

Not long ago, I taught an online apologetics course for a Christian college where class was held in a chat room. The students were required to attend for a specified period of time and then were free to leave, though they were also free to stay around if they wished. Often, two or three would continue discussion with me after class. When it got down to one student, the subject was always some version of the same topic: the problem of evil. And these were not abstract questions. The students were really struggling with something difficult—perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime difficulty, something set apart from everyday life. This impressed upon me just how important a subject this is. And from observation, I know it is often handled poorly. Now there are a couple of sides to this. The first is whether the answers given are good ones—solid, biblical, cogent. The second is whether the answers given are helpful—pastoral, sensitive, timely. They should be both. Poor answers are common, often in both categories: bad theology given in insensitive ways. Scripture warns us against both kinds of errors.

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Rick Ritchie is a long-time contributor to Modern Reformation. He is a graduate of Christ College Irvine and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Issue: "WHY?" March/April 2014 Vol. 23 No. 2 Page number(s): 34-39

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