Friday, June 10, 2011

Why Would a Loving God Let THAT Happen?

Why does God let bad things happen to anyone? This is a question that many non-believers ask. I asked this question myself and never seemed to get a satisfactory answer. I'm going to jump out in faith here and hope to answer this in a way that even I can understand :) and in the way that finally made it clear to me, before I came to Christ:
When God created the world and all that was in it, it was perfect. Humans then proceeded to mess it up and bring all kinds of problems into this paradise.
God doesn't make someone get cancer. Or get killed by a drunk driver. Or make someone's house burn down.  But sometimes God does allow those things to happen. The Bible says He has a plan that we may not understand this side of Heaven. (Now THAT is difficult for we humans to swallow, isn't it?) So God has this plan, and He knows that whatever He allows to happen to us, His creations or His children (Christians--yes, even Christians have problems), is for good--in the long run. We, on the other hand, are like foot-stomping, tantrumming 2-year olds who demand to know why bad things happen to us, and want to know RIGHT NOW! And if we don't get a satisfactory answer, we reject the very Creator who created us. The question we should be asking is, "Why NOT?". Have you been completely faithful to God? I know I've broken all the commandments (more on that in another post) and I'm betting you have, also. (ADD Moment: I know you're wondering about the "murder" one and feeling pretty smug that you haven't murdered anyone lately, so you're off the hook, right? Read Matthew 5:21-22. I'll wait. OK, for those of you who don't own a Bible, here it is: Jesus said, "You have heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not murder...But I say if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgement! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of Hell'."  Whoa. I know I've done that and I'm betting you have, too.)  Back to the original question--Think of it this way: Have you let your child play at the park, ever? Even if there were a danger that he would trip and fall and possibly injure himself? Of course you have. And when he stumbles and falls--after your repeated warnings to not climb on the nearby rocks--you hold out your arms when he comes running to you, crying and with bloody knees. You hold out your arms because that's what a loving parent does. You comfort your child and murmur to him, and discipline him only after his tears have abided. Yes, he knows you told him not to climb on those rocks, but he really, really wanted to! And now he sees the result of that bad decision and will hopefully remember who advised him not to climb in the first place. In the same way, God is standing near us with open arms. He has told us how to live (in the Bible) and what not to do (also in the Bible). He's made it so clear even I can understand it. Yet for thousands of years, we continue to mess up, like that little rock-climbing child. Still, God's arms continue to be open to us. Will you run to Him when you blow it, make excuses for yourself, or drown your sorrows another way? I've tried all of these and I can assure you that Jesus is way better than a glass of Bailey's, and Bailey's is downright delicious, isn't it? :)
If we're honest with ourselves, we as humans have brought much suffering upon ourveryownselves. There is enough food on earth to feed everyone; so why hasn't that been done? Who built cities near active volcanoes or in seaports known for their hurricanes? Who is responsible when an innocent child is born with AIDS? It ain't God. Now think about this: if God ended all suffering, He would have to put an end to any act that causes any suffering. In other words, He'd have to end the lives of those who cause suffering: adulterers, those having any kind of sex outside of male-female marriage, anyone who's told a lie, anyone who's hated, anyone who's committed a crime, etc. At this point, it's not looking good for any of us, is it? I myself got a traffic ticket just last week. I'm a criminal, technically. I know I can go to traffic school and get if fixed up to satisfy human standards, but I still caused suffering, didn't I? (Yes, I did. Trust me.) We're all part of the "fallen world" in which humankind now lives, and that includes suffering. Wow. What a concept. And to think I'm a part of that--isn't it our very human nature to think of ourselves as only "good", or "human", and "still learning" and all that? Well, we are still learning, and we are human, and we have also caused a lot of suffering. Every. Single. One of us. You included. Me included. Instead of blaming God for humankind's suffering, I'm going to thank Him that He hasn't, in His mercy, wiped all of us off the earth. He certainly has the power to, yet He chooses to grant us mercy and extend compassion in all our failings. Thank you, Father. We certainly don't deserve it. But I'm glad you love us enough to believe we're worth it.
"You intended it for harm, but God intended it for good..." Genesis 50:20
(For more information about questions you may have, check out One-Minute Answers to Skeptics  by Charlie H. Campbell and Hard Questions about Christianity, Made Easy by Mark Water, which helped me with this post. Both are available from your local Christian bookstore, or my home library, along with about a dozen other "fast answers to tricky questions" books you may borrow :)

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