Looking around and it seems like evil folks are getting away with murder. (Well, they are!) And innocent people — harmless and minding their own business — are all too often the victims of brutality.
I began to write about some particularly heinous incidents of bad things happening to good people as an illustration. But none of us needs an illustration. We see it every day, day after day.
What we need is an answer to the question. WHY does God allow this to go on? If God is loving and all-powerful, why doesn’t He do something about it?
The unspoken assumption to the question is a false choice, specifically either that God is not loving, or that God is not all-powerful. Initially it seems like a fair question. But as you unpack the details of the dilemma, you come to understand the question is as phoney as, “Answer me ‘yes’ or ‘no’ — Do you STILL beat your wife?”
Let’s start with a loving God. The Bible tells us that God IS love, so that’s a pretty pervasive statement. But what does that mean?
It means that God’s actions are always controlled by His love. Love, if it is TRUE LOVE, is always a choice. No one can force you to love someone else. A pimp can force a young girl to give herself physically to the next man who hires her, but no one thinks that is true love. Love for another is always the choice of the person giving love.
The other side of that coin is that accepting and returning love are always the choice of the person who is loved. That response cannot be forced. Ever. As soon as the element of choice is removed, the response is no longer love.
So, because God is love, He is seeking a love relationship with us. He offers it to everyone, freely and continually. But, because He is TRUE LOVE, God will never force someone either to accept or to return His love. COULD God force everyone on earth to say “I love God” and then to behave as if they do. Certainly. But that is neither love nor obedience. Both of those require free will. The essence of both love and obedience is choice.
God desires a relationship based upon mutual love. So His offer stands. But His offer is never forced.
Now let’s examine the second aspect of the question. If God is all-powerful, why doesn’t He do something about it?
Well, the simple answer is that He did! He sent Jesus Christ to break the power of sin in every life that turns to Him. He takes prostitutes and purifies them, He takes murderers and turns them into caring helpers of their fellow man. He takes thieves, drunkards, liars and adulterers and changes them from the inside out.
Even though WE CHOSE SIN (and which of us hasn’t??) He provided a way out of the eternal impact of sin. And even though we may have to deal with certain elements of sin’s effects here on earth He has prepared a place for those of us who love Him where sin will never impact us again. And these things we face here — though painful and difficult now — are going to pale and diminish in the light of eternity with Christ. We won’t even remember them.
So, why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Well, as it turns out, that question is also a false choice.
We tend to divide the world up into good people and bad people based upon outside appearances.
The Gospel divides the world into bad people and Jesus.
“Why do bad things happen to good people?”
That only happened once ………
And He volunteered.”
Then He offered total forgiveness and a love relationship to anyone and everyone who wants it.
THAT is how God deals with the problem of pain and sin.
Because He does not want anyone to be destroyed. And no one knows the destructive power of sin better than Him.
He wants everyone to repent, receive HIs grace, and enjoy a love relationship that is out of this world. Literally.
His offer stands. But His offer is never forced.
The only one who can make your choice is you.
That’s true love!