Why do bad things happen if we have an all powerful, all good, all loving God?
This for many is the pivotal question to the Abrahamic faiths. As a Christian I most definitely have struggled with this question. And for many this question is the root of all doubts about God. “I can’t believe in a God that would allow THAT to happen.”
I don’t know what troubles you have experienced. I don’t know how hard your life has been, what you have had to suffer through. But I have suffered. I have been through the storms. I’ve seen death. I’ve had to attend funerals for people that I loved. I’ve had to struggle through school. I’ve had to leave relationships that I deeply cared about. I’ve had family members die from cancer. I’ve lost pets. I have had friends turn their backs on me. I’ve watched peoples lives fall apart. I’ve made the statement “You just don’t understand.” I’ve cried out to God in anger. I’ve screamed for him to prove if he is real. I have suffered.
Why God? Why do you allow these things to happen?
The response that I am afraid I would get is “Why do you?”
I used to be a very strong believer of “Everything happens for a reason.” I lived by that. I put hope in that. Until a new light was shed on that statement.
There was no reason that that mother shot and killed her three children. There was no reason that that girl was raped. There was no reason that the boy who is bullied committed suicide. THAT. WAS. NOT. GOD’S. WILL. And I say that with boiling anger.
Rather, it is in these moments that God weeps. He cries with us. For as we often forget… “Jesus wept.”
It is in these moments that God comes in close and he holds us tightly, and he brings us through the storms. Where he loves so much more closely. And he says “I am sorry that this has happened to you.” And I believe this. I believe this so, so intimately. Because when I suffered most, when I screamed at God “Why did you let this happen!” God spoke to me.
God spoke to me. And he said “I love you.”
“I love you.”
God comes in close when we cry out to him.
This is what is written in the Psalms.
Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you.
Evening, morning, and noon, I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.
For He will rescue the poor who cry out and the afflicted who have no helper.
I long and yearn for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God.
O LORD, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you.
And perhaps my favorite:
He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer.
So the question that this leads us to is still “If he does not ignore, Why does he let it happen?”
The harsh reality to come across is….it isn’t God’s fault for sin in this world. It is ours.
In the beginning God provided us with free will.
There were two trees.
The Tree of Life which they were allowed to eat from and live forever walking with God as he intended for his very good creation.
There was also another tree. And God made it very clear that Adam & Eve should not eat from this tree. The tree of knowledge of good & evil. They could eat from ANY tree just not this one. Now I’ve always asked why? “Why did God allow that tree to be there?”
This sort of obvious idea of “For there to truly be obedience, there must be the choice to disobey.”
Or another way to think of things. Think of your friends or maybe past relationships. Where you loved someone so deeply and yet, they didn’t want your love. They threw it back and it hurt. It really hurt. And you so desperately wanted to love that person and for them to love you. It’s just not what they wanted and it makes no sense to you.
Think of how God feels.
For there to truly be love, there has to be the option to not love.
“Love means giving up control. It’s giving up the desire to control the other person. If we are serious about loving someone, we have to surrender all of our desires within us to manipulate the relationship.”
Think of God’s love.
There had to be a choice. Things could have been perfect. Things could be the way that we always wish they could be. There could have been peace on Earth.
But we chose. They ate from the tree. They broke the one rule. They wanted to think like God thinks. They chose themselves over God. They wanted to be like God. And God’s heart broke.
Because God IS all good he could not be in the sight of sin. So he cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden where they once walked with him and no longer had access to the Tree of Life. Thus death now came into the picture.
Imagine how God felt. We can relate in the smallest scale to how God felt here. I imagine that this was God….suffering. This was God hurt.
Now for some they may think “Why am I punished for what THEY did?”
Well did you not do it as well? Did you not lie as a child? Did you not say “no” to your parents? Adam & Eve brought sin into this world and thus you are born into sin.
It’s not God’s fault. It’s ours.
We brought the darkness into the world. And we curse God for our mistake?
We ruined his good Earth. And we blame him for our problems?
It is our sin or the sins of someone else that brings suffering and pain into our lives.
Sin cannot be in the presence of God and so we all deserve death. And we all deserve Hell.
Because we messed up God’s creation by bringing darkness into the world.
And instead of God turning his back on us, instead of him saying “You are on your own.”
God sent us light.
“Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.” (1 Corinthians 15:22)
We the people who went against God, were given the greatest gift we NEVER deserved and yet we still curse God?
We ask him “Why do you let these things happen!?” or “You just don’t know what I’m going through.” or “You don’t understand. WHY?”
“Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, “God, you don’t know what it’s like! You don’t understand! You have no idea what I’m going through. You don’t have a clue how much this hurts.”
The cross is God’s way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments.
The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, “Me too.” -Rob Bell
God understands. God knows what it’s like. Because we chose against God. We broke his heart. Because God sent his only son to be beaten by accusers, to be whipped by tassels, to be struck with a stick, to be stabbed with a spear, to be cut by thorns, to carry his cross, to have nails nailed into his body…to take that last breath. And he did it to reconcile the creation that went against him that chose their way over his way and brought sin into the world, and brought sadness into the world, and brought hunger into the world, and brought rape into the world, and brought murder into the world, and brought sickness into the world, and brought storms into the world, and brought death into the world. And he came down and lived amongst THAT creation and then he died for THAT creation so that we could still have a chance at life that we had long separated ourselves from.
Because if God only allowed good in the world, we wouldn’t be here. He gave us grace and mercy and hope and life.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Because there were two trees.
One that brought us death and one that Christ died on to give us life.
We can help God make this world better. Back to the way it was created to be. Thy will be done on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN. He wants peace on Earth. He will one day take us to the place where things are how they are supposed to be.
“For There will come a time,
you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart,
but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see
what you find there,
With grace in your heart
and flowers in your hair.”
There WILL come a time with no more tears. And love will not break your heart but dismiss your fears.
When we suffer God comes in close and he helps us out of it. Things will get better. The pain will go away.
As the Bible states “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
God will turn that pain into something good. He will make it right. Come to him when you are afflicted and he cannot ignore your cry. Trust in Him. He has made EVERYTHING beautiful in its time. It gets better because God loves you.
He loves you…
because there were two trees.