Monday, December 17, 2012

Why God?

This past weekend has been a difficult one for many people in our country, especially those of Newtown, Connecticut. The senseless killing of innocents makes all of us ask “Why? Why do the innocent suffer? Why does it seem the evil is so powerful? Why would God allow this to happen?”

These and many more questions have been asked this weekend and some of these questions have been addressed to me. I wish I could tell you that I knew the answer. I wish that I could tell you that I knew why but the honest truth is that I don’t know why? No one does.

Here is what I do know. God loves the human race and because he loves us he wants us to love him. (I suggest you read the short letter entitled 1 John near the end of the New Testament to learn about his love for us) That means that one of the most precious gifts he gives us is freedom, freedom to choose right from wrong. God wants us to choose to love him. But along with that choice is the opposite choice – the freedom to choose evil. You see if God made us without a choice we would be doomed to live our lives under subjugation – slaves or even worse – robots.

But God wanted us to choose to love him in response to the love he shows to us. 1 John 4:19

19  We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19 (NIV)

So why didn’t God intervene this time when he does other times? Does he like some people better then others? Does he play favorites? No the Bible says that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.

45  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matthew 5:45 (NIV)

 Why does God choose to allow things to happen?

Well if God is all knowing (omniscient) and I believe he is. And he is all-powerful (omni powerful) and I believe he is. And he is everywhere (omnipresent) and I believe he is. And he is eternally now and the creator of time, space, and the universe and he is. Than I have to believe that after seeing and knowing every possible outcome with every possible permutation he has chosen the best possible course for the greatest possible outcome.

Where is the comfort in that for those of who are hurting and suffering?

Everyone either has or will suffer. It is the way of all mankind. I believe that the comfort comes in the fact that God tells us that he will never allow us to endure suffering without him being there to help us through the suffering.

One of the best-loved Psalms is Psalm 23 – often known, as the Lord is my Shepherd Psalm. In this passage God tell us that like a shepherd he will walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. We don’t have to walk it along. He is there beside us comforting, caring for us and binding up our wounds.

1  The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3  he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.    
5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23:1-6 (NIV)

We can also take comfort in knowing that Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd (John 10:11).

Also he has experienced all of the same sorrows that we are or have experienced and as such he understands what we are going through and can not only empathize with us but also comfort us (Hebrews 4:15)

15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)

He will not allow us to go through our suffering alone but will walk with us through the suffering.

While this still doesn’t answer the personal question of why knowing that God cares enough for us that he is willing to be with us in our time of need provides me great comfort and I hope it will do the same for you.

I’m praying for all those who have been affected by the events of this past Friday and I hope you will join me in my prayers.

Pastor Val

1 comment:

Gary said...

Well stated. From 1 John 4:7-8, "let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God"............."for God is love".
Certainly as you have said, if we could not choose love, and thus allow the possibility of evil, then true love would not be available to us.