Steve Jobs, Suffering, and Answers

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I’m sure everyone is aware of the death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs several weeks ago. Not being a Mac fan until a few months ago, I was only vaguely aware of who he was. I know some of my Mac-loving friends may find this shocking, but I’m just not that technologically savvy (which is probably why I love my Mac—it’s designed for people like me!). My earliest memories of a Mac stem back to seventh-grade computer lab, when we played this cool game called “Lemonade Stand” on a thing called an Apple.

This week, in our News to Note feature there was a brief article about Steve Jobs’ new biography. It highlighted again to me the importance of always being ready to give an answer, especially to our young people.

The innovations that Steve Jobs's creativity and determination have brought into this millennium abound. His recent death at 56 called to mind his 2005 speech when he said, “Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.” [1]

He said that since age 17 he’d resolved to live every day as if it were his last, and energized by that thought he provided creative answers to many of our technological needs.

Yet, according to Steve, when he was 13, the church failed to give him answers he needed, and he chose to walk away from Christianity. According to Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s biography (which was to have been titled iSteve), Steve’s parents were

“. . . not fervent about their faith [but] wanted him to have a religious upbringing, so they took him to the Lutheran church most Sundays. That came to an end when he was thirteen. In July 1968 Life magazine published a shocking cover showing a pair of starving children in Biafra. Jobs took it to Sunday school and confronted the church’s pastor. . . . ‘Does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?’ [The pastor answered,] ’Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.’ Jobs announced that he didn’t want to have anything to do with worshipping such a God, and he never went back to church.” [2]
I encourage you to read the article in its entirety. I’ve recently been working on updating my presentation on the issue of suffering and death for our Answers for Women conference next April. All of us have had to deal with suffering and death—some more than others. I know having a proper understanding of the origination of sin and death in Genesis was pivotal to a better understanding of my own mother’s death. It gave me a kind of peace even years after her death. Although I don’t fully understand God’s purpose and plan in her death, I do know that Isaiah 55:9 is true, which states, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” I have to let God be God.

As a teen, Steve Jobs had questions about suffering in the world. He wasn’t given a proper answer and walked away from the church and Christianity forever. Not having answers made an eternal impact on his life. He now has the correct answer, but it is too late to make a decision for Christ. Kids and teens want to know the truth. Equip them with answers.  Check out our new book, the Answers Book for Teens!

Keep fighting the good fight of the faith.


[1] http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

[2] W. Isaacson. 2011. Steve Jobs, pp. 14–15. New York: Simon and Schuster.

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