What sort of a sermon might we have preached or wanted to hear in the aftermath of 9/11, at a memorial service for the Nazi Holocaust, or at the funeral of a beloved child? A person in search of faith might want a sermon that makes sense of the big questions: if God is all-loving, how can so much evil and suffering take place? If God is all-powerful, why does God not act to prevent it?
A person trying to hold on to their faith might hope to reconcile their image of the loving protector and saviour with the cruel realities of life. Believers often find themselves arguing on God’s behalf, seeking to explain or even justify this One in whom they believe and trust, but whose ways are strange, not only to those who don’t believe, but also, and sometimes more painfully, to those who do.