- 2002 10 Oct
It's been said that we are all born naked, wet and hungry and then things get worse! It's also been said that when you think you finally hit bottom, someone will hand you a shovel. Then of course, everyone is familiar with Murphy's Law - If it can go wrong it will. I've found that there is another law at work in the world: the 50/50/90 rule. It goes something like this, whenever you have a 50/50 chance of getting something right, there is a 90% probability that you'll get it wrong!
A recent national survey conducted by pollster George Barna included this question: If you could ask God any one question and you knew He would give you an answer, what would you ask? The number one response to that question was this: Why is there suffering in the world? This poll was conducted before the attack on America last September. The problem of pain and suffering is never very far from our minds because it all seems so unfair. When an evil person finally gets it, we feel like justice has been served, after all they had it coming. But when a child dies, or an airplane crashes - there is always a nagging "why this?" in our souls.
Even Jesus asked that question when he was impaled upon the cross - he cried out, "My God, my God, why?" And you know what? God did not answer Jesus. He rarely answers that question because most of the time those who are asking don't really want an explanation, they want an argument! God simply will not get into a war of words with people. And so, most of the time when things go badly, we blame God for not being all that interested or not paying attention to what's going on. We slap Him with a label of not really being all that good, or not all that powerful, because if He was really good and powerful, He would intervene and make sure that bad things never happened to good people.
When we face adversity, we should remember that God has not told us everything. There is a lot going on behind the scenes in this world that we simply don't understand and it's important that we don't allow our imperfect understanding to blind us to a belief in God. Truth is, we are finite human beings incapable of comprehending infinite truth. While it's hard for us to admit that, it's kind of like trying to explain fusion to a four year old, even if God decided to tell all the reasons why bad things happen to good people, we still wouldn't really get it.
It's also important to understand that God is not the author of evil. He created the world excellent in every way! That perfect creative process did not include any evil of any kind. Although God is not the originator of evil, He allowed for the potential of evil, here's why. God gave the ability to choose, it's the greatest power on the earth. You see, the greatest thing in the universe is love, but love requires a free will. It isn't love if it doesn't involve the freedom to choose. If you buy a doll programmed to say, "I love you..." when you push a button, that isn't real love now is it? You see, real love cannot be programmed, only chosen.
You might be thinking - "Didn't God know that we were going to get it wrong?" Sure He did. Think of it like this, God took the same chance that every parent takes when they decide to have children. When people choose to become parents they are taking a huge chance because there is a very real possibility that the children will make mistakes, they might break your heart or even reject you. And yet, people choose to have them anyway. Why? One word, love. The same is true of God - He knew that some would rebel against Him. He knew that all of us would make mistakes that would cause us pain. But, He also knew that some would love Him in return, that love would be celebrated for eternity!