This is by far the biggest question people have to ask. It usually comes from some traumatic experience, whether it be personal or global. These questions are questions the non-believer, and some young Christians have.
- Where was God when this event happened?
- If God is so loving, why did God allow this to happen?
These questions are questions the non-believer, and some young Christians have.
Just the other night I was having a conversation with someone who is dear to me, they shared some hard experiences I could not even begin to understand, as well as some I could, in a different light.
We all have some hard experiences we go through, whether it was something done to us, a family member or a friend, when these experiences come to us we can sometimes doubt God, doubting how loving He really is, or even that He even exists. While it may be hard to face, some of these bad things are simply bad by our personal perception, while others that truly may be bad, not of them are God's fault. He is not the one we should be blaming.
At the root of everything, Sin is the blame. When God created the Earth, He saw that it was good, not bad, but good. There was no famine, no drought, no death or decay, no wrongdoings of any kind. The earth was literally without any fault or blemish.
When Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit, only then was sin introduced into the world. It was no longer perfect. Through this the earth was cursed, murder was the first, then to come was wickedness of all sorts, rape, incest, homosexuality, idolatry, deceit, and all the like. But before all of this, God made a promise that one day a savior will come and crush the head of Satan and His evil deeds. (Genesis 3:15) If that is not enough, after that happened, God committed the first spill of blood and provided cover for His children. (Genesis 3:21)
Not once in the entire history of the scriptures does God sin against mankind. But rather we sin against Him, this is the root of all the evil that happens in the world and to us.
He is a King
One of the hardest things to swallow is the fact that God is also a King. and in this universe we have two kingdoms, we have the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Each person that exists, that has ever existed and ever will exist are all a part of one of these two Kingdoms.
Jesus makes it quite clear in His teachings that we can not be part of both. Matthew 6:24, John 8:39-47, John 7:13-14.
As a King, the Father is responsible for His Kingdom, those people who are under His protection, who have been reborn by the Spirit of God, no I am not talking water baptism in a church, but a sincere spiritual transformation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
It would not be right for a King to care for someone else when the responsibility is the King they serve. Would it be right in our modern world to give our welfare, Medicaid or even income tax refund to other countries? Would it be right for a mother to provide for someone else child when their own family is fully capable of doing just the same? Would it be right for a husband to take care of someone else wife?
I think through this image, it is also important to recognize that God is not required under any standard to tend to those who are not of His Kingdom.
While God does tend to those outside of His kingdom sometimes, usually a means to give a "free sample" of the grace He offers. (Psalm 34:8). This is done as a means to show the outsider what they are missing out on.
The messenger of the Eternal God surrounds everyone who walks with Him and is always there to protect and rescue us.
He is a Judge
Another hard reality we have to face is that God is a just judge, and His law is perfect. As a just judge, He is required to uphold His law.
When you commit a crime, you are usually required to go in front of a judge and plead your case. Depending on the severity of the crime, and how often it has been committed, the judge will sometimes release you of the punishment and tell you that you are free to go. But what happens if we continue to commit the crime? What if we continue to 80 in a 45-mile zone? What if we continue in a life of homosexuality? What if a person is a continuous murderer, rapist, pedophile, drink driver and anything else you can think of? If these criminal acts were a part of the lifestyle this person chose and they had no intentions of changing or stopping with their crimes, would the judge be just and respectable if He continues to let these people go without proper punishment or discipline?
A right and just judge would uphold His law and need to make sure these people were properly dealt with.
One particular case that comes to mind is Moses lifting the Serpent in the wilderness, you can read the full story in Numbers 21, but the purpose was to remind Gods chosen people of the sin they committed against Him, and what would happen if they turn away from God and do as they please. Yes, God still disciplines and punishes His chosen people.
For our gain and His glory
While God may not be the immediate fault of these bad things, He does allow them to pass for a purpose.
- To the Unforgiven, a means to uphold the law. Romans 6:23
- To the forgiven, to refine us into Christ's likeness.
Jesus never promised a perfect and happy life by the world's standards, no matter how much you read Jeremiah 29:11, this will never be the case. In fact, Jesus actually promised His disciples that they would have to endure persecution, all of them, with the exception of John (which was exiled on Patmos), died a martyrs death. All of them endured great suffering. But it was never God who was the cause of this, but it was the ruler of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) who was to blame.
To the Christian, God allows this suffering for His glory, and our gain. Much like gold which is a worthless undesired rock before it is put into the furnace, only once it has endured the heat, and pressure will it come out pure, beautiful and worth any value. (1 Peter 1:7.)
Jacob, otherwise known as Isreal had 12 sons. one of them, the youngest was Joseph but He was also despised. Joseph cause jealousy among his brothers and to teach him a lesson, his brothers threw him into a pit in hopes to shut him up. Later when they came back to get him they found that Joseph was gone. Joseph was taken by slave traders and sold into Egypt.
You can read the full story beginning in Genesis 37
Now the interesting part about Joseph experience was that he one day became second in command to Pharoah, there was no other person Joseph had to answer to. He was in charge. But in his life, the bad things that happened was that Jacob (Isreal) thought his son was killed, Joseph cause division between his brothers, so much that they did not like him. His brothers actually thought Joseph saw himself as being better than them. There was a split in the family, Joseph was alone, and for the next 20 years, his own family knew nothing about him. This experience might seem bad, and from a worldly perspective, it is. But the outcome is the most important.
Through this family conflict, the enslavement, years in prison, false accusations, Joseph, because he honored God above all, became second in command of all of Egypt, and because of his righteousness he was able to help Pharoah interpret a vision and ultimately saved the land of Egpty from a 7 year famine, not just Egypt, but even his own family came to buy some food and Joseph was reunited with them.
Why does God allow these bad things to happen? Why does a loving God not do something? The answer here is that He did, he created you and I to respond. To listen to His guidance and obey it. Not as a dictator, but as a King and a Father who knows what is best for His children. And just like any Father, they allow their child to go through certain hardships as a learning experience, or sometimes discipline. We can try to live our lives as strong independent people as much as we want. But when we begin to do that, we also lose sight of God, and when this happens God takes a step back until we decide to return to Him with open arms, when this happens then the Lord cares for us just as much.
We can not put the blame on God, it is the curse of sin which these come from, but through all of this, God can (and does) still use these for the greater good of His people, those who have been reborn by the Spirit. As we know in Romans 8:28, all these work together for those good of those who love (agape love) Him.
As Jesus shares in Matthew 6, we must first seek the Kingdom of God, only then, will He be there for us, more than He is now.
If you have made it this far, God is trying to speak to you, trying to tell you how much He wants to be a part of your life. But to do that you must seek Him, repent of your sins, and serve the Lord. Profess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus your Lord (He is in charge, not you) and you will be saved. Ask Him to forgive you. But before He can, we must also forgive others in our lives (Matthew 6:14-45).
If you have done this, I want to strongly encourage you to engage. Open of the Word of God (If you need a bible, let us know) and learn who He truly is, not what the world has taught you. Find someone, a group of people who can help you with your new spiritual walk with the Lord, get involved in a church community and have fellowship with other believers.