We have been talking about the important question of “Where was God?” when something tragic occurs.
In the midst of tragedy or suffering, the question often arises: “Why didn’t God prevent this from happening?”
The assumption is that if God is good, and truly loving, and all-powerful, He would prevent bad things from happening. Some point to the fact that bad things aren’t prevented as “proof” that God either doesn’t exist… or He doesn’t care about us. “How can anyone believe in God in the face of terrible tragedy?”
But is there another issue at hand? Is there something we are missing?
Let’s think about this… what do we want God to do?
Most want Him to prevent all bad things from happening. Natural disasters, terrorists attacks, church killings, mass shootings, rapes, murders and the like. That sounds good. We want our world to be a safe and peaceful place. In our minds, God should be the One policing everything (and preventing every bad thing).
But it’s not just that… we want God to get rid of all evil actions – to prevent them before they happen. We seem to think that God should be in the business of stopping evil – rather than just comforting those who are touched by it.
But let’s really think about what we are saying. IF we want God to prevent all evil – HE would be the One deciding what evil to prevent… and He would be preventing all the evil acts in every person. God would be preventing all abortions. He would be preventing all extra-marital sex (and all homosexual relationships). He would be preventing all lies. He would be preventing “fudging” on our taxes. Or cheating at some game. Or stealing some little thing that no one would ever miss. And so on…
We really don’t want that. We want to pick and choose when and where we want God to act. We don’t want Him meddling in our affairs (especially since we aren’t hurting anybody) – we just want Him meddling in the affairs of those who are committing terrible acts.
But here’s the thing we don’t seem to grasp… In the sight of God, every selfish or self-serving act is an act of wickedness. And every act of wickedness is terrible in His view. What we often see as harmless (not hurting anybody) wounds the very Heart of God. Every sin, no matter how insignificant in our eyes, is a blatant disregard for the holiness and goodness of God.
If we are asking God to get rid of all evil… none of us would survive the day.
The answer to the problem is the same as our answer in yesterday’s post. Jesus came to pay the price for every evil act, ever done, by every person. God’s act to “do something about all this evil” was to send His Own Son to “deliver us from evil.” And to willingly receive the punishment for every evil act, ever done.
That is hard for us to grasp. We want God to dole out terrible justice on those who commit horrible acts – failing to realize that we are ALL included in that category. And we also fail to realize that God poured out His wrath upon the One Who was sent to carry all our sin and evil upon Himself… for each of us.
God has never been indifferent to our suffering. And He has never turned a blind eye to the evil that men do. But He stops short of preventing us from choosing to do bad things. He seeks to honor our choices – even the regrettable ones.
Instead, God seeks to draw us to Himself – and align our minds and hearts with His. He is seeking that we would choose to think and act in accord with His thoughts and actions.
Jesus came to make that possible. Jesus came to deal with all the evil, at its source. And He came to turn our hearts to Him.
Hearts abiding in Him leave their wicked ways behind them.