Apologetics for atheistic

I am a Christian and follower of Christ. My steps to loving people in the way Christ has commanded us, is always my priority.

I have a friend, 50 years old, born with Hodgekinson’s cancer. Confirmed atheist.

We engaged on a faith level sporadically.

My question is,

He was born with this type of cancer, has somewhat of a deformity and struggles with his cancer on most days.

How do I speak past and into a heart that believes, that if God made everyone uniquely, why would He give him this and be plagued by rude people, pointers and mockery and feel that this physical and internal pain is a positive?

I want to use compassionate apologetics to get into and through to a heart that lives out this pain everyday.

How can I reveal the love and uniqueness of God to him, for him to catch the love of God in him?

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Hello, Matt. First, I’d like to welcome you to Connect and tell you how much I love and appreciate your heart for those to whom you seek to minister. We cannot hope to reach people for Christ without having Christ’s heart for them.

My heart always goes out to people who suffer from difficult illnesses, both mental and physical, and I know that if I was going through that, I would probably have some tough questions for God like your friend does. I think so often, when we ask the question ‘Why?’ out of our pain, it echoes back to us as if it’s bouncing off the walls of a great cavern, and we suddenly feel so small and alone. I think there are so many times that we don’t ever get a satisfying answer to that question, and when we keep searching for that answer and can’t find one, it’s easy to get lost in the pain of whatever it is we are going through and allow it to define us. But we have a God that personally knows suffering. He knows what it is to experience excruciating pain and to have others mock and point and kick him when he was at his lowest. That same God is willing to walk with us through our suffering, and His love does not call us by our illnesses, by our condition, by our circumstances, or by our pain. It lifts us above that and says we are so much more. The God of all that exists, in His willingness to endure humiliation, suffering, and death on a cross just to have the chance to be reconciled with your friend, declared your friend’s (and every individual’s) priceless value and worth. Who is anyone else to mock him? What God does that for those He created? A good God! And if this good God, who has declared His banner of love over each of us on and through the cross, has the answer to ‘why,’ even if we don’t know or can’t understand the answer to that question, would it perhaps be enough to trust Him with it? When we can’t know the answers, could it be enough to know the One who does when we are able to see His goodness in the fact that He has gone to such great lengths in His love for us?

These are thoughts of mine. Ultimately, of course, it will be the Holy Spirit that will reveal God’s love to your friend, but He definitely works through us. I am praying for your friend, over his cancer, and over your interactions with him. Praying for guidance and wisdom as you seek to show God’s love to your friend, even in your compassionate presence and willingness to listen to him.

In Christ,

Lindsay

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Hi @Matt_1

Really I just want to echo what Lindsay (@psalm151ls) has already said. I already think that you’re revealing the love and uniqueness of God to him by loving and praying for your friend.

Ultimately, and I think most strikingly in your circumstance, we have to point to Jesus. He himself suffered and died for us even though we didn’t deserve it. We may have many questions of God at times… the scriptures are full of those who cry out to God in both good times and bad. But in the end those questions can be answered in the cross. I wouldn’t want to follow a remote God who had no knowledge or care for my problems and pain (and mine aren’t even that bad comparitively). God so loved you… and he so loved your friend… the whole world even… that he gave his one and only Son to suffer and die so that we could live. And as a bonus to that we will get resurrected into a new and whole body without the ravages that we face in this life.

Obviously (which you already know, having asked the question you did) we share this news with gentleness and respect. But there is only one answer which satisfies and that is our Lord Jesus. Mostly, I think your continued support and care will show the truth of the words you speak of the gospel.

I hope and pray that God gives you wisdom in your words and actions… and that your friend comes to a knowledge and relationship with the Lord Jesus.

For me, the fundamental question is not why we suffer, but why we are still alive the the first place. Adam ate the fruit, but did not immediately physically die. Why not? Why did he live nearly 1000 years? The fruit of Adam’s sin is ultimately death, unless he repents. But not only him, but all of creation is in bondage to decay as the result of sin. Your friend is suffering, not of his own doing, but as the result of the entrance of sin into the world. His cancer was never God’s plan for anyone. I would just focus on God’s love manifested through Jesus Christ. As John Eldridge writes, we are part of a story, one that started with perfection then fell to sin, yet God sent Jesus to redeem us, and He will, when He comes back, make it right, wiping away every tear.