In his book What Good Is God?, Phillip Yancey examines whether it makes any real difference if we believe or don’t believe in God in times of suffering.
Yancey starts with an example of “tabletop tests” in Silicone Valley where new products such as phones and MP3 players are placed on a tabletop and deliberately crashed to the ground to see if they still work in the real world
Yancey looked for similar tests in the realm of faith. He visited crisis points in the world – South Africa, the Middle East and India -and talked to groups of outcasts, prisoners, alcoholics and prostitutes. “When I spend time with these people, my own faith undergoes a tabletop test.,” he said
“It is one thing to say, Well, God is good because I live in a nice suburban home and my children are all Olympic athletes and doing well in school. But what good is God if you are in a prison being persecuted for your faith? That is to me the tabletop test of faith.”
He concluded that faith was about hope. Not a hope that we are going to live a problem-free existence, because that is not going to happen. “It is the hope that God is with us in these testing times of faith and that they can be redeemed, that good can be wrought out of them.”
“I’ve been privileged to see God at work.
“I have found that a time of pain and suffering can be a time when we are forced to stop in our tracks and ask ourselves what really matters.”