Why doesn’t God stop bad things from happening?
God made a perfect world where there was no sin or suffering. In an instant of time all was wrecked and ruined in a deliberate act of rebellion which Adam and Eve committed when they disobeyed God. Earth became a ‘paradise lost’. Suffering, sin and death became the norm. The first child born, far from regaining paradise, became a murderer.
There is coming a time when God will completely reverse all those ruinous effects. Meanwhile people are born into a world which has been spoiled. Sometimes suffering is the direct result of man’s disobedience to God, e.g. the drunkard who destroys his liver through alcohol abuse, or the homosexual who contracts HIV/AIDS. At other times, it is difficult to understand why one particular person suffers so much whilst another doesn’t.
We are, however, all bound up in the bundle of life and often the innocent suffer most. The Bible gives no glib, easy answers; but it does assure us that through it all God knows, loves and cares. Once we have heard the Word of God speaking to us, we can cope with His silences. The Bible put across this truth in Deuteronomy 29:29 ‘The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.’ In other words, what we do know about God – His love and sovereignty, His understanding and care – enables us to cope with the things we don’t know.
God is the Heavenly Father of all those who trust Him, ‘…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8:28). Christians do not always know ‘why’, but we do know who is in overall control.
Christ fully identified Himself with human suffering. He was forsaken by His friends, neighbours, countrymen and even by His father, God. He cried, ‘My God, my god, why have you forsaken me?’ when He was crucified. As He bore the sin of the world His holy Father turned away. Jesus endured such separation so that those who trust Him and believe might experience God’s forgiveness and eternal companionship.
He triumphed over sin and death by rising from the dead. One day all who receive Christ into their lives will be able to shake off earth’s present darkness and difficulty and enjoy Him forever.
Lord Hailsham, a previous Lord Chancellor makes a point worth considering: ‘You do not get out of your philosophical troubles arising out of the fact of evil by rejecting God. For … the real problem is not the problem of evil, but the problem of good, not the problem of cruelty and selfishness, but the problem of kindness and generosity, not the problem of ugliness, but the problem of beauty.’
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