The recent massacre in Las Vegas, Tuesday’s terrorist attack in New York and this week’s shooting at a Colorado Wal-Mart are nothing short of pure evil. The question that comes to mind when these things happen is, “Why? Why would God allow such a horrible thing to happen?”
In a poll conducted by the Barna Group, the question was asked, “If you could ask God one question and knew he would give you an answer, what would you ask?” You probably can guess what most people said. They wanted to know why there is pain and suffering in the world.
In fact, people will point to the problem of evil and suffering more than any other reason for not believing in God. It is not merely a problem; it is the problem. Why does God allow tragedy? And if God can prevent such tragedies, why does he allow them to take place? A classic statement of the problem usually goes along these lines: Either God is all-powerful, but he is not all good, and therefore he doesn’t stop evil, or, he is all good, but He is not all powerful, and therefore he can’t stop evil.
The general tendency is to blame God for evil. We effectively transfer responsibility to him. But let’s come back to the core question: If God is so good and loving (as it’s often framed), then why does he allow evil? The first part of the question is based on the false premise that we will determine what goodness is. When we ask that question, what we’re really saying, in so many words, is that God is clearly not good and loving, because if he were, he wouldn’t allow that. We are already making a judgment of God.
I wish you could have met me when I was in my 20s and was starting out as a preacher. I knew everything. I knew the answer to every question. Of course, I really didn’t, but maybe I thought I did. One of the things I’ve learned with the passing of time is that I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t necessarily need to have all the answers. God has all the answers. He gives us some of those answers this side of Heaven. And then there are other answers we’ll have to wait for.
When our son Christopher died on a Thursday, I was in church the following Sunday. I wasn’t preaching, but I was attending. People saw me in church, and they saw my wife and son Jonathan with me. They said, “You are so courageous to be in church. You are such a model of faith.” But I wasn’t there because I was strong. I was there because I was weak. I needed to be in church. I needed God. I needed the Bible. I needed worship. I needed perspective. So I looked to the Lord.
We don’t always know the answers, so we have to go back to what we do know: We know that God is good. We know that God is loving. I know that God loves me. This brings us back to the question, “If God is good and loving, then why did he allow this to happen?”
Read more at THE BIG ‘WHY’ QUESTION.