When everything is going great and people are healed we say, “Praise God!” But what about when people are not healed? What about when horrible things happen? Is God still good? WIth the news of school shootings, hurricanes, and movie theater massacres, we can’t help but ask ourselves this question.
Wrestling with the question myself from time to time, I have done some, (ok a LOT) of research over the years. I have read some books, searched the scripture, listened to people a lot smarter than me and did a lot of praying.
I think I was hoping for a simple, yet eloquent answer tied up with a pretty bow. But if I found something like that I knew I should be cautious. A far more detailed answer was much more likely.
In effort not to write a 100 page dissertation I have highlighted 6 points that give me peace when I see suffering, calm when I am worried, and give hope for tomorrow. I hope this helps you deal with the hard things in life.
1) It didn’t’ start out that way
In the beginning God made man, His most prized creation, in His image. Man was made without disease, hereditary predispositions, sickness, or fault. All of creation was “good” there were no hurricanes, drought, tsunamis…and although I can’t prove this, I am betting there were no mosquitos.
God made everything, and it was GOOD. But because our God loves us so much, he also gave us freedom. He didn’t create us like robots programed to “do right” and never have a mind of our own. He gave us choice…a will.
Genesis 3:4:” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from [the tree] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
God didn’t want us to know of evil, He wanted to protect us, but we thought we knew better than God..the oldest and still most active sin in the book.
Because of sin we have selfishness, discontentment, hate, murder, natural disasters, and sickness.
ALL creation is groaning for His return Romans 8:23
2) God isn’t fair
When I hear about babies dying, or random shootings my first instinct is to say, “That isn’t fair!” And technically I would be right, it’s not fair. But God is not fair….and I’m thankful.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life Romans 6:23
Sin is so bad and so ugly to a Perfect and HOLY God that it HAS to be punished. And we have all sinned. But remember, we are also His most prized creation. He wants to have a relationship with us.
Sin made too large of a gap between God and man. There was no way any one human, or millions of them for that matter, could have possibly bridged the gap.
In the most astonishing display of love the world has ever seen, God sent his only son to pay the price we couldn’t pay.
Jesus was perfect, we were not. We deserved death, yet Jesus suffered it all, because of love.I have sinned. Meaning my punishment is death, eternal death. Yet because of God’s grace, because I believe in an amazing God that is so much bigger than what I see, I will get the opportunity to one day see him face to face.
3)“Bad things” are sometimes our fault
If we never get our oil changed and our car breaks down it’s not God’s fault. If I yell at my husband every time he comes home and one day he doesn’t want to come home, it’s not God’s fault. And if we show up late for work everyday and loose our job it’s not God’s fault. I think that’s all I need to say about that.
4) God never waste a hurt
When bad things happen, even when it is our fault, God always uses the hard stuff for amazing teaching opportunities, both for us and others.
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world -C.S. Lewis. Every tear we cry he hold's in his hand -Casting Crowns Psalm 56:8
Think back on some of the most amazing times in your life, most often the awesome stuff in life is a result of a hurt. Example: Read pretty much EVERY testimony in the testimony section of this blog.
5) Be present
This last point is, to me, the most essential. I tell myself this innumerable times every day.
I want to KNOW that my family and I will live a long and healthy life, but I am simply NOT given that promise. There are (roughly) 999,999,999,997 things to fear (not that I have counted).
Crazy, unexplainable things happen! Even the most cautions of people simply can’t avoid bad things. Trying to do so would be exhausting and your life would be totally boring.
Enjoying this present moment, looking for the good instead of harping on the bad. Sitting with my family at dinner amidst chaos of the kids and realize the value of each fleeting moment. That is when I am truly living.
6) To die is gain
The apostle Paul said, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." The message version is: Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose. Philippians 1:21
I often hold on to life with everything I can. It is hard for me to realize that to die is truly gain. But his promise is true:
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.
“He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil” Maria from a minature clay pot
In this life bad thing will happen, there is simply no way around it. This temporary vapor of a life is a precious gift, BE PRESENT, enjoy more and complain less. There is ALWAYS, ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Ultimately we are all God’s children, bought for a price, yet free to choose. Our life, however long or short, is not ours, it is God’s. He and only He is in control of all of our tomorrows.