Last month in worship I asked people to write down one question you wish you could ask God about God, faith or about the Bible. I wanted to report to you that the most frequently asked question had to do with God and the question of evil and suffering. – One example is this, “If God is the powerful loving God we hear about in the person of Christ, then why does God allow evil to exist in the world?”
This is a very difficult question and one that has been asked of God for centuries! I need to begin by saying I am not going to be able to answer this question here, nor probably ever fully until I can talk with God in heaven someday. It is however, a question that I hope we can explore more in the future, and as we do, I believe it will help us to deepen our faith and understanding of God.
Today though, as we continue to face a world where people shoot 14 year old girls to maintain their positions of power and fear, where people cheat one another for personal gain, take advantage of others and kill others, I want to simply say the following things as a personal witness to the love of God and as a way for us to consider this issue and begin a longer conversation.
I believe in a God that chose to, “(take) the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of a human: 8 And being found in fashion as a human, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:7 As I think about all that God did in the human form of Christ, all the living and suffering, the betrayals from Peter and Judas and the other disciples; the fact that Jesus lived an earthly life just like we do and probably experienced similar joys and sorrows; the fact that Jesus worked so hard to pursue the rights of those who were being treated unjustly; the fact that GOD in the form of Christ endured the hatred, the beatings and even being killed… that God endured evil for our sake. I have to believe that God did all this out of love and does not want evil to exist in this world. This is why it’s so hard to make sense of the fact that evil does exist and we want to understand why. When evil touches us, we want to blame someone and when we don’t know who to blame, we often blame God.
For me, knowing that Jesus Christ loves me and endured evil for our sake gives me hope that evil did not come from God and that evil will not have the final say. In fact, I believe with my whole heart that God has already defeated evil in the form of death. What exists now is the evil in my own heart and the hearts of those that are my neighbors. God calls us as Christians to acknowledge to others that God is indeed a God of love and that this God walks with us even to death, and I can give thanks that that God has power beyond death. For me, faith in God gives me HOPE for tomorrow. A hope that I do not think I would have in the face of so much evil in the world without God. So I personally am thankful for God and for God walking with me amidst the difficulties and evils of this world.
I hope you will continue to ponder these questions of God and evil and suffering and I look forward to and welcome your thoughts and comments about these issues. If you are interested in helping me develop and lead this Bible Study in the spring, please contact me and let me know, I will be happy to work with you.
May God’s love be a blessing to you amidst the evils and suffering of this world! — Pastor Dan