Even as a kid, the late Steve Jobs was amazing. Wanting to work in the infant personal computer industry, he showed up at Atari headquarters and declared that he wouldn’t leave until they gave him a job.  A less inspiring event in the life of young Jobs is related in the landmark biography just being released. At 13, Steve had been going to church, but suddenly he quit.

Why? He saw a magazine cover showing starving children and could not reconcile such misery with the reality of a loving, sovereign God. So he forfeited his faith in Jesus, stopped going to church and devoted his world-changing talent elsewhere.

How sad. I lament the death of Steve Jobs, almost like I lost a friend. He changed my life, digitally. I’m crafting this post on my beloved MacBook Air. I depend upon my iPhone and iPad to get news from the world and inspiration from heaven. Throughout my day, every day, I am indebted largely to Steve Jobs. I honor the technical wisdom and tenacity for excellence that he epitomized. Yes, he could be an insufferable jerk to colleagues and underlings who fell short of his demanding standard. But when considering his life of legendary discipline, I am ashamed for not being as devoted to my own life calling as a servant of God and a steward of the mysteries of Christ.

And so I mourn the loss of Steve Job, not merely for the loss of future technology but because he is now lost to the kingdom of God. His departure from the church is understandable, I think. All of us have been troubled and perplexed by the suffering and evil around us (and within us).

Jesus Himself wept while going to the tomb of Lazarus, His friend. You can read the compelling story in John chapter 11.

Why did He weep–was He helpless in the fact of death, like the rest of us? And why did He wait around several days after He heard that His friend was sick–did He get distracted from His ministry of healing, as we all do too often? And what about the heartbroken sisters of Lazareth: Mary and Martha?  Worst of all, why did He break His promise to them that “this sickness will not end in death”? (John 11:4).

Actually, the fatal disease that struck Lazarus did not end in death. Jesus gloriously liberated him from the tomb as the crowning act of Christ’s life-giving ministry. Because triumph trumped tragedy, “many came to believe in Him.” Although Lazareth came back to life on earth, they discovered and embraced life eternal.

All’s well that ends well? It did for Mary, Martha and Lazareth, along with those enlightened to believe through resurrection life from Jesus. But what about Steve Jobs?

God only can judge, but millions have abandoned the Christian faith with Jobs because of the same type of perplexity that vexed Lazareth, Martha and Mary. If they could only see the end from the beginning, they would discern His gracious purposes within a suffering, dying world.

Perhaps we can help them. Maybe we can explain how there is purpose in pain–or better yet, model faith-based endurance in suffering. This might motivate them to seek God’s purpose in their own pain. This could draw them back to the church they may have abandoned with young Steve Jobs. They too would receive not only life in Christ but also His strength to endure until He comes again. At that grand event, death will be swallowed up in victory (1 Corinthians 15:51-55). With the end of global rebellion will come the end of war, pollution, disease and pain (Revelation 21:1-7).

Such is the eternal heritage of every believer in Jesus. We life by faith in God’s love, His provision in Christ, and His purpose in pain. In heaven our life of trusting God on earth will be vindicated, as we get all lingering questions from earth answered during those first 1,000 years (the millennium).

Much more needs to be said about suffering, sin and death. May nobody else, young or old, leave the church because we failed to address their life-and-death questions. And let us model the love of Jesus toward suffering people and trust His purpose in our own pain. Stay tuned to this blog and we will discuss this again. We won’t find all the answers, but we will find the solution to everything in the Lord Jesus Christ.