The Biggest Question: 1. Personal Stories

This is Part 1 of a video series called The Biggest Questions: why does God allow suffering? produced by Focus. Each video in the series is introduced by BBC TV Songs of Praise presenter Diane Louise Jordan. They are all abut 5 minutes in length.

Go directly to the part you want using the menu below. They do not necessarily need to be watched in order. The Personal Stories will tell you something of the context from which the various contributors are speaking, but do not need to be viewed for the other videos to make sense.

Videos 1-7: Personal Stories
Videos 8-15: Possible Answers
Videos 16-19: Personal Responses to Suffering
Video 20: The Suffering of Children

Personal Stories

In the videos below, a number of Christians discuss their own experiences of suffering. The same people speak on the other videos looking at possible reasons for, and responses to, suffering in the world.

1. I Forgive the Man who Killed my Son: Robin's Story

Robin Oake is the former chief constable of the Isle of Man in the UK. Robin’s son, Stephen Oake, was an anti-terrorism officer, who was killed in 2003 in a raid on a terrorist safe house. In an interview, Robin Oake said later of the terrorist who killed his son, "I forgive him". In this video, Robin tells his story of this family tragedy. [Back to menu]

2. Put in prison for my faith: Miryam's story

'Miryam' (not her real name) was born into a Muslim family in Iran. As a young adult, she became a follower of Jesus Christ, and was thrown into prison. In this video, Miryam tells her story. [Back to menu]

3. Life in a Wheelchair: Nick's Story

As a teenager, Nick Barr-Hamilton was a keen sportsman until his back was broken in an accident playing rugby football. At university, Nick became a follower of Jesus Christ. Now confined to a wheelchair, he is the vicar of St. George's church in Fatfield, Washington (UK). In this video, Nick tells his story. [Back to menu]

4. Given Three Weeks to Live: Hilary's Story

In the thirty years of conflict in Northern Ireland known as 'the Troubles', more than three thousand people were killed. Hilary McDowell, from Belfast, was involved in the work of reconciliation after the Troubles. She's also an international writer, speaker, and counsellor. But Hilary was born with multiple disabilities, and given only three weeks to live. In this video, Hilary tells her story. [Back to menu]

5. Endless Pain: Eric's Story

Eric Gaudion is an Elim Pentecostal minister from Guernsey in the Channel Islands. He suffers from the most severe form of pancreatitis, and for the past twenty years, he has been in constant severe pain. He has been in and out of hospital more than a hundred times, and has had more than thirty surgeries. In this video, Eric tells his story. [Back to menu]

6. Terminal Cancer: Mavis's Story

Lionel and Mavis Clargo have worked as Christian evangelists all their lives. In 2012, Mavis was diagnosed with cancer. In this video, Mavis tells her story. [Back to menu]

7. Unwanted Same Sex Attraction: Ed's Story

Ed Shaw is the minister of a church in Bristol. He also struggles with same sex attraction. Ed is the author of The Plausibility Problem: the Church and Same-Sex attraction. In this video, Ed tells his story. [Back to menu]

To discuss all the videos in this series, visit

© 2015 Focus
These videos can also be viewed on the Focus 'God: New Evidence' website.

© Focus. The materials in this resource are reproduced by the kind permission of David Couchman and Focus.