“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.” -Robert F. Kennedy 1966 Speech
Many times in my Christian Journey I have been asked by people ‘why does your God cause / allow bad things happen to good people’? It has taken me many years on my own journey, to come to be able to answer that question even with a modicum of personal understanding.
The answer which I give may not please everyone. I only offer it as my own personal understanding. You see I do not for one moment believe that God ‘causes’ bad things to happen. That is not to say though, that God does not use these bad things, as a means to reach out to people, and call them back into a loving relationship with him.
Folks currently are questioning if God is so good, then why did He cause, or why did He allow the Deepwater Disaster to occur, killing 11 innocent men, and putting the entire eco system of the Gulf of Mexico into a catastrophic decline. And it’s not only the ecosystem but the future health and livelihoods of the Gulf’s inhabitants and possibly those of the entire southern parts of the USA. – Not to mention innocent people elsewhere, which the deadly toxins might affect, as is being postulated currently.
To ask a question such as that above, one must have a perception of God as vengeful and dealing out bad things. Bad is the very opposite of good. I decided for this blog to seek just a few texts that I could use to back up my trust that GOD IS GOOD.
Psalm 25:8; 34:8; 36:5-9; 96:4; 100:5; 135:3; 145:9
Lamentations 3:22-25 (His mercies are new every morning; God’s faithfulness)
Nahum 1:7 (The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble)
John 3:16-17 (God’s love for us)
Romans 5:8; 6:23; 10:9-13 (our state/condition, God’s love, God’s offer of salvation)
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (comfort and compassion)
Ephesians 2:8-9 (For by grace [unmerited favor toward mankind] are you saved…gift of God)
Titus 3:5 (salvation b/c of His mercy [not giving what we deserve]
1 John 4:8-10 (God is love; and how God showed His love)
All of the above tell us that as God IS Love, God IS good.
There is one particular story that gives a great definition to all of this. Jesus was on the road, making His final journey to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. This time He Himself would be the Passover Lamb, slain for the sins of the world. As He walked along with His disciples, a young man ran up to Him, knelt down in front of Him and asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17)
“Good Teacher”—that was an unusual form of address. In all of Jewish religious literature, no rabbi was ever called good. Only God and His law were considered to be good. Was this a case of empty flattery, or had this young man become convinced of something that the rest of the religious establishment had refused to admit—that Jesus Christ was actually God in flesh?
“Why do you call Me good?” Jesus asked. “No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18). His comment was not a denial of His deity, as some have suggested, but rather an opportunity for the rich young ruler to confess his faith in Christ’s divine person. That confession never came, indicating the man’s lack of spiritual understanding. But Christ’s statement tells us something about God that we need to consider if we ever hope to know Him intimately. God is good, and beyond that, He is the only one who can rightfully be called good.
As I intimated earlier Good is the antithesis of bad……… As God is GOOD He cannot be bad, it is theologically, philosophically and spiritually impossible for the Creator and Trinitarian God to encompass evil.
Even if people will listen to my thoughts on this topic – after questioning me about why God does bad things (and many won’t listen…….) I am still asked, ‘if it is not God doing bad things then who is and why do they happen?’
There is one, and only one simple answer to this question, which can be found in the first letter of St. John.
We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
People forget that the evil one has temporary control of events on this Earth. The evil one does not plan for our good – he plans for our ultimate demise and total separation – for eternity – from the one true and loving Creator God. The evil one wants us to love him, and him alone!
They also forget that some of the angels revolted against God in His Heaven, with one in particular feeling he had the power to over throw God and assume the role for himself.
This sounds so familiar I think when we consider big business, and politics and other organisations today – and power struggles which ensue. Yet this was the ultimate authoritarian struggle…… the struggle for our souls and eternal life. We should be eternally grateful that Our Creator God won and we have a future encompassing eternal life with Him if we but turn to him in faith.
I do believe God uses those things that we name ‘disastrous’. Let me give you an example, by way of a story, of how I see this.
A few more weeks went by and it got to the stage that he only had food for another 3 weeks. Now he became really desperate. So he prayed; not something he had ever done back in England, but he felt his position was now hopeless. He actually prayed for many hours that day, and he actually felt better afterwards.
But the very next day, upon returning from a fruitless hunt for food on the island, he was horrified to discover that the hut which he had built for shelter had burned to the ground! He was inconsolable! Is this what happens when I pray? he thought.
He was now shattered in spirit, feeling that without even having a hut for shelter, his position was now hopeless. But the very next day he was rescued by a ship!! “We saw your signal” said the captain. “Signal? What signal?” asked our friend. “The signal from the fire which you lit; we knew at once that somebody was calling for deliverance!”
So you see, when the man was at his lowest ebb, and that’s all he was aware of: how hopeless his position was, God was, even then, answering his prayer! It took the burning down of his hut for him to be delivered!
A recent article I came across, written by Jason Lovelace, ties in with my own thoughts on why God allows these disasters happen.
God allows disasters, tragedies, and hard times for our own good: Whether we are Christian Followers of Jesus Christ or not, God uses disasters to get our attention, to get our eyes back on him. Is there something going on in your life right now? Are you going through a hard time, through a disaster, a tragedy, or a catastrophic event? Maybe you have gotten your attention away from God, and he is trying to speak to you, to get you to open up your ears and your heart to him. We humans can be very stubborn very hard-hearted, very hard-headed when it comes to God. If you are going through a hard time, remember that God isn’t allowing it so you will be destroyed – he is allowing it so that you will turn to him and listen to him.
To the unbeliever, you need to know that God will do everything he can to get your attention, to get you to turn to him. He loves you and wants to spend eternity with you. That is why Jesus Christ came and died on the cross. The more you, as an unbeliever reject him, the more God will try to get your heart to open up to him.
There will come a point where your heart will be so hardened that you cannot hear the voice of God, but when that time is – is not known. The best thing is to turn to him while there is time, while his call is recognized on your heart. God does not want disaster to happen to you to turn you to him, but if you hold out that long, unbeliever, he will allow it to happen. Do not wait until it is too late, and do not wait until a disaster is necessary before you turn to him.
To the Christian believer, brother or sister, that hard time you are going through right now is a test from God. He wants your eyes, your trust, and your hope placed in him too, just as he did before you asked Jesus into your heart. Trust in him and know that this will soon pass, just as he promised, and that he is with you all of the way.
It takes courage to change the way we look at things. Courage to see that out of the pit of doom – from the total and seemingly uncontrollable mess of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster – God is reaching out to you. He is asking you to take courage, reach out to Him in trust and fidelity, and allow him to take (re-take) control of your life.
Robert Kennedy’s quote speaks of moral courage, and I concur with the message. I speak about spiritual courage which can be received simply, by seeking the Kingdom of God, and following the example of Jesus our Saviour.
Father, help us, we pray, to recognize you in the midst of the trials of life, the tragedies of this existence, the disasters that come, and the hard times that we go through. We pray that those who read these words will understand you better, and know that you love us, and want us in your Eternal Kingdom. Give the unbeliever who reads these words help from your Holy Spirit, and help them to make the choice to come to you by way of your Son, Jesus Christ, in Whose Name we pray, amen.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
REFERENCES USED in creating this blog: