In doubt and temptation

This month we return to the topical approach with a theme addressed to the very practical issues of suffering, grief, and despair. Each of these trials has a way of sowing doubt in the mind of a believer and may even present the temptation to become suspicious of God’s goodness. The purpose of this issue is to help young believers understand why God brings these troubles into their lives and how the weakness of our human nature is used by God for good. Memorizing the words of Romans 8:28 is one thing. Submitting ourselves to the truth they teach us can be quite another! 

Most of the content in this issue, including some of the regular rubrics and a poem about the grief of loss, are related to our theme. Readers will notice several references to the book of Job, which is among the most helpful passages of Scripture for understanding God’s purpose in suffering. Both the editorial article and the devotional for this month are based on Job’s experience with suffering and the contrasting advice given to him by his friends and God.  

The most important emphasis of this issue, however, is the believer’s need for Christ. Each of our feature articles for this month has been written with our Lord as its focus and conclusion. When we ask the question “why suffering?”—the answer is Christ. When we ask the question “how is this good?”—the answer is again Christ. Our suffering Savior is the one to whom all suffering, grief, and despair should point us for help and comfort in time of need. Three of the feature articles for this month reflect new writing by contributing authors, while the fourth is a reprint of an excellent article on the Christian response to grief by the late Rev. George Lubbers. Though written over fifty years ago, we trust readers will see its relevance to the world in which we live thanks to the unchanging truth of God’s word. 

We are also happy to announce a new way to access the excellent devotional content of Beacon Lights. In response to the advice of a wise reader who noted the difficulty of sharing a single copy of the magazine for personal devotions, we will now be posting the devotional guide on the Beacon Lights website each month. The material can be downloaded for print as a PDF file or accessed electronically each day. We hope that making the devotional more readily available will encourage subscribing households—and anyone else, for that matter!—to use this resource as a means to seek God in daily prayer and meditation.