If we don’t worship God, we will worship something else. For we are homo adorans, humans designed to worship. What we worship apart from God will fail us and eventually destroy us. For anything else apart from God our Creator is a created object that is limited by nature and corrupted by human sin.
Any created thing—be it money, fame, power, pleasure, sex, titles, property, cars, luxury goods, spouses, family, friends, self-help programs, meditative states and techniques, spiritual enlightenment, gurus, race, gender, culture, nation, planet, the universe, even the church or the biblical books—do not and cannot replace God. The God-shaped hole in our hearts can never be filled by anything other than God. Whatever created thing we worship becomes our idol or counterfeit god. It will end up destroying us. It consumes us even now.
When faced with suffering and evil in the world, we can either run towards God or away from Him. When running away from God, even rejecting God, are we any better off? No. None of the God-substitutes really or truly works. Atheism or human-centred spiritualities point you back to yourself as your own salvation. But when you are completely honest about your own fragility, weakness, failings, inability and utter contingency, you will realize none of these solutions ultimately work. In the end, all created entities lead us back to our creaturely impotence and eventual disintegration separated from God.
But when we turn to God, we find a divine repository of ‘resources’ in our walk of faith that empowers us to meet suffering, process suffering, transfigure suffering, and finally triumph over suffering alongside a community of the faithful in Christ. Prayerfully in the power and life of the Holy Spirit, guided by the invincible immutable Word of God, cradled in the embrace of our Saviour, resting in the gracious merciful providence of our Father, we can participate in God’s sovereign victory over suffering in the new heavens and new earth when we let ourselves belong to Him. To God be all the glory!