This is an email from our church pastor that I will file, and reference again and again.
Don’t you just loved honest answers?
As Christians, at some point in time, you will be asked this question.
And I sometimes I feel it is a challenge for me. If I give them the “right answer”, will they too think God is still God? Will they think there is a God? Like this is my big chance to prove my faith and knowledge to others, don’t blow it Garrett.
But I learned about 3 years ago, that it’s okay to just plum not know the answers sometimes.
That’s why God is omniscient – and we are not.
When others question if there really is a higher power, a God, Jesus – I no longer quickly judge them up and try to list WHY I believe there is. I think it’s okay, and a good thing, for others to ponder, research and look at their own heart, prior to concluding their own beliefs. If they get to God on their time, and on their terms- then it will be their God, the one (and only) who they can have a personal relationship with. In short- questioning means that at least that person is giving it some thought.
And then one day, when someone asks THEM why do bad things happen, maybe they too can believe and explain the below to others.
Our Lenten study this week is on suffering. In my small group I shared some of my own suffering and was taken aback by the emotion that came flooding to the surface as I recalled that awful time in my life and that was over 25 years ago! I don’t imagine there are any of us who have not suffered in some way as we have journeyed through life. Our hearts are saddened when we watch the news and read the newspapers of the suffering of people, whether it’s an earthquake in Haiti or Chile or the senseless, godless, evil and cowardly violence that takes place on the streets of our nation and the world.
We look at these things and inevitably the question becomes “Why would God allow this to happen? If God is great and God is good, why do the innocent suffer?”
I’m not sure anyone will ever be able to answer those questions. They are questions that have been asked since the beginning of the world. I’m not sure I have an answer today, but I’ve given it a lot of thought. I’d like to share with you a few thoughts to those questions.
First thought: It’s a fair question. It’s okay to ask that question. Somewhere we’ve been given the idea that if we ask why the innocent suffer, it is a sign of unbelief or a challenge to God. Not so. The Bible asks the question often. Even Jesus quoted the 22nd Psalm, as he hung on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” It’s a fair question. Not a question of unbelief or a challenge to God.
Second thought: I don’t know. The Bible never gives an answer. I don’t know why the innocent suffer, but I do know that sandwiched up against the blackness of evil is the brightness of good. Ultimately I do know that God will not leave evil unanswered. I think there is a day coming when all of the crooked things will be made straight, all of the dark things will be made bright, and all of the innocent will be vindicated. I think that is what the cross of Jesus Christ is all about, and the resurrection is God’s declaration that eventually things will go right.
Third thought: Good is God’s character and no matter what happens in this world, that can’t change. What I’m saying is you can focus on the good in God or the evil in the world. I hope you have found enough goodness in the world to choose to keep lighting candles instead of cursing the darkness.
If God is great and God is good, why do the innocent suffer? That is a fair question. I don’t know that there is a good answer out there, but I do know there is a goodness in this world that cannot be explained outside of a God who loves you and me. God IS good and all the evil in the world will not and cannot change that.
Look for the good that is all around you today and praise it!
You are loved,