Sunday, May 5, 2013

Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?

This is a message that our son, Matthew, recently shared with our church. In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and our own community losing five of its young men to the sea, it was a message we all needed to hear. I pray you will be blessed as you read it:

When tragedy strikes, when horror shakes a community or nation, when people's lives are turned upside down, people start to ask questions.In their anger and their grief some of the most common questions are
about God, even from people who usually ignore Him or even say they don't believe in Him. “Why does God let bad things happen?” “If God is loving and fair, why does He let this stuff happen to good people?” Sometimes people even blame God for the tragedy.

It's very easy to ask these questions because we’re human and sometimes we just can't comprehend how or why something so bad would happen. So many times our friends and family come to us and ask these questions and we're supposed to have some sort of answer for them, that's not always easy because a lot of the time we’re hurting and don’t understand it. We have to be careful that we give them a good answer, and in order to be able to do that we have to think things through ourselves first.

In the wake of the events of the past few weeks in Boston, and before that the horrible shipwreck of the Miss Ally being so fresh in all of our minds, I felt that I should probably talk about the famous
question that we all probably have asked at one point in our life, "Why does God let bad things happen?"
The book of Job says important things about suffering. Almost everyone at some point in life asks,"Why do bad things happen to good people?” We don’t have enough time to read the entire book of Job tonight, so here is a summary, but I do encourage you to read it all at some point.

Job was a man who was wise, rich, and good. Then suddenly terrible things happen to him. His oxen and donkeys were stolen and the servants looking after them were killed, his sheep and servants looking
after them were all killed in a fire, his camels were then stolen and the servants looking after them were killed. His ten children were killed. He lost all of his money and then Job became covered in huge painful boils
and bleeding sores that he had to sit on the street and scrape them off with broken pottery.

Job’s wife is still alive, and she, with three friends come to visit Job.They don’t really come to help Job feel better, they just yell at him and tell him to curse God and die. Job becomes very discouraged and angry but
he still believes God cares about him, although he doesn't understand why he has to go through all of this.
In the end, God answers Job in a whirlwind, reminding him that humans can never understand all of God’s ways. After Job hears God speak, he says in Job 42 verses 2 to 6: “I know you can do everything. You make plans, and nothing can change or stop them. You asked, ‘Who is this ignorant person saying these foolish things?’ I talked about things I did not understand. I talked about things too amazing for me to
know. “You said to me, ‘Listen, and I will speak. I will ask you questions, and you will answer me.’ In the past I heard about you, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. And I am ashamed of myself. I am so sorry. As I sit in the dust and ashes, I promise to change my heart and my life.”

Job realized that his trust in God should not depend on what happens to him. Finally, God restores job's health, makes him twice as rich as he had been before, and gives him ten more children. This book tells us that God is in control of everything that happens to us. Satan can only do what God allows him to do. And when God allows suffering he has ways of making everything turn out okay in the end, even if we don’t
understand it right now. Sometimes God is just saying “Just wait and let Me do MY job and then you’ll see why this had to happen.”

When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they died spiritually and they began to die physically. They had it good, there was absolutely no sin at all and nothing bad. God gave them only one rule to follow and that
was to not eat the fruit on a certain tree. One tree, one type of fruit, they had the whole garden of Eden, food everywhere, just please don't eat from this one tree.

It would be like if I gave you say 300 iphones, you can use 299 of them but DO NOT use this red one over here. You wait a while and when you think I'm gone you sneak over and the thought is going through your
mind "hmm he won't notice, it wouldn't hurt just to use it once, ah well I'll just go for it" It's as easy as that.

Since Adam and Eve sinned, every single human has a fallen nature which means we’re all born sinners.
Romans 5:12 says “Sin came into the world because of what one man did. And with sin came death. So this is why all people must die—because all people have sinned.” It is only when we’re given spiritual life by the Holy Spirit and God and He begins to lead us into the right ways that we begin to think in the right ways; it is only then that we’re even close to thinking like God.

John 16:33 says: “I have told you these things so you may have peace in me. In the world you WILL have MUCH trouble. BUT take hope! I have power over the world!”. If you were to ask me right now, “Why did God let all of those people get hurt and die in the Boston marathon?” I would only be able to answer with 3 short words, “I don’t know”. I can’t stand in the shoes of God and give a complete answer to that question. I don’t have God’s mind, I don’t see with God’s eyes, I don’t know God’s Master plan, but I can trust in God knowing that He must have a plan.

1 Corinthians 13:12 says: “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know
everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” So when you ask about specific events and want to know why they happened, you won’t get the full answer ever here on earth. Someday you
will, if you trust in Jesus and are saved you will go to heaven and live with God, and then you will know.
Someday we’ll be able to see all things clearly but right now some things are foggy. We can’t understand all things with our little minds, but what we can do is trust. Trust that God is in charge and has a plan for
everything, even if we don’t understand it, we have to give it to Him and trust that He will do the right thing.

There are some truths that are found in the bible that we’re going to call “Points of light” because knowing what they are will shine light on some dark situations, and if we follow these lights, they will lead us in the
right direction, towards some answers that can help calm and satisfy our hearts and souls.

What are those “Points of light”? I’m going to go through six quick ones that I think you will find helpful whenever you feel like asking the question “Why does God let bad things happen?”

○ The first point of light is “God is not the creator of evil and suffering” Genesis 1:31 says “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”

○ The second point of light is “Though suffering isn’t good, God can make good come out of it.” God does this by fulfilling His promise in Romans 8:28 which says "And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

○ The third point of light is “The day is coming when suffering will cease and God will judge evil.” 2 Peter
3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you,
not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

○ The fourth point of light is “Our suffering will be so worth it, once we reach heaven.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 says “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

○ The fifth point of light is “We decide whether to turn bitter or turn to God for peace and courage” As one
philosopher said: “I believe all suffering is at least potential good, an opportunity for good. It’s up to our free choice to actualize that potential. Not all of us benefit from suffering and learn from it, because that’s up to us, it’s up to our free will.”

○ The sixth and final point of light is a simple one “God has a plan for all of our lives.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares The Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”

God offers us the three things we need when we’re hurting and going through tough times,
1. Peace to deal with our present.
2. Courage to deal with our future.
3. Hope of an eternity spent with Him.
He offers these three things to us because He has overcome the world, His plans outrank all of ours, and He loves us and won’t give us too much to handle.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” What we have to do is to trust God and ask him for strength and comfort, in whatever we go though.

Hebrews 13:5 says “Your way of life should be free from the love of money, and you should be content with what you have. After all, He has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.” Jesus is there in the lowest places of our lives. Are you broken? He was broken, like bread, for us. Are you despised? He was despised and rejected of men. Do you cry out saying that you can’t take any more? He was a Man who had sadness and grief. Did someone betray you? He was sold out by His friends. Is your relationship
broken? He loved and He was rejected. Did people abandon you? They hid their faces from Him like He had leprosy.

He loves us and is there for us. From inside of a Nazi death camp, a woman named Corrie ten Boom wrote these words: “No matter how deep our darkness, He (meaning God) is deeper still.” Every tear we shed
becomes his tear. Suffering is a personal problem, that demands a personal response. What will we respond when we’re suffering? Will we curse God and die? Or will we trust that He has a plan for us and praise Him in the storm that we’re going through?

Post a Comment