This message is so timely - it seems it should be auto posted once a month. In Genesis 3:17 it says, “…cursed is the ground because of you.”. What if someone read only half of it and then slammed it down and said, "Well, Lee did a terrible job with that book. Anyone who meets Tim easily remembers him as the tallest Filipino they've ever met. First came the wildfires, which ravaged the houses of hundreds of our neighbors, prompting many of them to ask the same question, "Why? All of us at some point in our lives have asked this question and wrestled with it? We were following the taillights of that truck when the fog slowly began to lift, the rain began to let up and we entered a town with some lights. He suffered and died to save me from ultimate suffering and death. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus Christ told us about the wide path that humanity has chosen to travel and the narrow path that choosing life (as God wished us to) would take us on. Various Scriptures. He created us. But if God is not the author of tragedy or evil or death, where did they come from? His desire, His goal, His aim, is to have a relationship with everyone. The number one response was: "Why is there suffering in the world?". As harsh as it sounds, maybe God allows tragedy to come into our lives because tragedy is often the only thing that engages us with God. It's already being called the worst mass shooting in American history: 70 people shot by a gunman, 12 of them killed, while they were watching the midnight showing of a new movie. Guns kill people, car's kill people, people kill people. You get promoted at work to your dream job. Because God desires for all people to come to the knowledge of the truth. So what's holding God up? While I did not ultimately know why I had to go through the suffering I did, I knew my savior had suffered with me. In other words, all it does is attack an attribute of God, not God’s existence. Why Does God Allow Evil,Suffering and Tragedy in the World? And that has resulted in the introduction of evil into the world. They hid their faces from him as if he were a leper. Well, God has existed from eternity past as the Father, Son and Spirit, together in a relationship of perfect love. But to give us the ability to love, God had to give us free will to decide whether to love or not to love. This Common Challenge covers ways you can introduce, initiate, and instruct the entire congregation into the life of allegiance to Christ. Why Does God Allow Tragedy and Suffering? And Jesus said they are coming. the only answer I can honestly give consists of four words: "I do not know. Because he has conquered the world! God did not cause suffering. But look at it this way. Suffering doesn't have the last word anymore. It was frightening! He was sold out. That cold and darkness seeped into my soul and didn’t really begin to go away until nearly a year later. A friend betrayed you. But just as most people experience personal tragedy at some point in life, my time eventually came. But we still wonder why bad things happenâalthough we know God is still in control, even if evil sometimes seems to be winning. get one year free. In fact, He has intervened occasionally throughout history when His plan required it. That day will come, but not yet. The most comforting answer to me during that time was not an answer, but rather a question. So, why does God allow tragedy? If you ask me point-blank, 'Why did God allow the gunman to spray the Aurora movie theater with gunfire just two days ago? This is an adaptation from an earlier essay published in RELEVANT Magazine about God in tragedy. Because we have been comforted through the Word of God, we in turn may be able to comfort others. So, why does God allow tragedy? He uses His Word and the Holy Spirit to deal with us. So far, we have been discussing intellectual problems of suffering, but in the next section I will address the emotional problem. Itâs a protest. He also writes for Apologetics315 where he is a team leader. You only read half the book!". Hereâs the classic statement of the problem: Either God is all powerful but not all good, and therefore he doesnât stop evilâor heâs â¦ Let me share one with you. The latter overcomes the former. I couldn't stop because I was afraid someone might come along and rear-end us. Through his own suffering and death, he has deprived this world of its ultimate power over you. God has the last word! Finally, the fifth point of light: We decide whether to turn bitter or turn to God for peace and courage. We can't understand everything from our finite perspective. When suffering or tragedy strikes close to home and people whom we know love God and follow Him die in a sudden, unexpected or tragic wayâit can cause us to question where God was and why he did not intervene. Some people ask, "Couldn't God have foreseen all of this?" Why does God allow tornadoes, tragedy and suffering? When my daughter was little, she had a doll with a string in the back, and when you pulled it the doll said, "I love you." God is allowing humanity to see that our way doesnât work. First, we must remember, âFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughtsâ (Isaiah 55:9). It was through that cross that Jesus conquered the world for us. The answer is: He did! So as we ponder the mystery of pain and evil, we need to be mindful that God did not create them. Copyright 2021, Allendale Baptist Church. But why? In many ways, I wasted my suffering but by God’s grace I eventually healed and found hope again. The difference between answering these questions intellectually and emotionally, How suffering and tragedy are not good reasons to become an Atheist. Moral evil is the immorality and pain and suffering and tragedy that come because we choose to be selfish, arrogant, uncaring, hateful and abusive. Not because He created us that way, but because we choose to be that way. Are you broken? Karrie was alone, making her way on an early Halloween morning to her job at a preschool. He makes the solemn pledge that he will take the bad circumstances that befall us and cause good to emerge if we're committed to following him. The second point of light: Though suffering isn't good, God can use it to accomplish good. Your relationship with God is close and real and intimate. I could barely see the white stripe on the edge of the road. 13 Come now, you who say, âToday or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.â 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. Lee Strobel sums up my thoughts in this post from the Bible Gateway Blog. Listen to me—that is not to deny the reality of your pain in this life. And that was true in my case. On Sundays, we worship at our Love INC Connection Center at: 6633 Lake Michigan Dr God not being all-good and God not existing are two very different things. Notice the verse doesn't say God causes evil and suffering, just that he promises to cause good to emerge. Sarah Sumner. It all happened just 21 miles from where we're sitting. As a wise man once said to me, "God's ultimate answer to suffering isn't an explanation; it's the incarnation." But what if tragedy isn’t a result of human choice? So we have seen that Satanâs trickery and Adam and Eveâs wrong choices introduced suffering into the world. He didn't say you might—he said it is going to happen. God allows tragedies in our lives in order to remind us of âwho is in controlâ. Making and growing disciples involves taking people’s spiritual temperature, helping them confront and address sin, guiding them to develop a love for Scripture, and much more. ", It's like the story that British church leader Galvin Reid tells about meeting a young man who had fallen down a flight of stairs as a baby and shattered his back. Of course—but you still had kids. For example, in the same way a man can decide to kill another man by smacking him in the head with a rock, a similar rock can fall from a cliff and be equally deadly. Why did God let this happen? Are you despised? The harm was too great, the damage was too extreme, the depth of my suffering has been too much.". Genesis 1:31 says: "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.". In other words, we've only read half the book! Then later, in the midst of personal tragedy, I was forced to wrestle with these questions once again. If their argument is successful, all it does is “prove” that God is either not all-powerful or not all-good. I genuinely wondered how all the suffering and evil in the world made sense within my Christian faith. That day just sort of fades away. Why? You'd remember that first bad day. Contributed by Lee Strobel on Jul 23, 2012 (message contributor) based on 117 ratings (rate this sermon) | 50,872 views. In John 16:33 he said, "You will have suffering in this world." There are too many loose ends with the plot. Let me finish the story of Leslie and I driving through the fog in Wisconsin. Many people wonder: "If God has the power to eradicate evil and suffering, then why doesn't he do it? But if they are asking in light of current, personal suffering in their life, you need to be a conduit for Jesus’ love in their life. You have your first child and he's healthy and strong. Does God allow suffering? Once Leslie and I were driving from Chicago to Door County, Wisconsin, which is that thumb-shaped peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan. The next two points address the intellectual problem, and the last addresses the emotional. That "why" question is not a new one; it goes back thousands of years. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.". But when I look at the totality of the year, when I put everything in context, it's been a great year. If God can take the very worst circumstance imaginable and turn it into the very best situation possible, can he not take the negative circumstances of your life and create something good from them? God is not the creator of evil and suffering. That’s why there’s no single, silver bullet answer that will resolve every person’s emotional suffering in the midst of tragedy. Why? The boy said, "Thirteen years." In 1 Corinthians 13:12 we're told, "Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.". Yes, he does. There are very good explanations as to how these three things can exist together in harmony, but I’m not even going to try to do that yet. These are questions almost everyone asks at some point in their lives. This is a more difficult question to answer. Let the words of 1 Corinthians 2:9 soak into your soul: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.". Here is the classic statement of the problem. Because you knew there was also the potential for tremendous joy and deep love and great meaning. God knew we'd rebel against him, but he also knew many people would choose to follow him and have a relationship with him and spend eternity in heaven with him. From the depths of a Nazi death camp, Corrie ten Boom wrote these words: "No matter how deep our darkness, he is deeper still." Why do bad things happen to good people? But unfortunately, we humans have abused our free will by rejecting God and walking away from him. My wife had to give birth. Tim, his wife Alexandra, and children MaryKate, Oliver, and Sunny attend Allendale Baptist Church where Tim also works as an administrative assistant. What they desperately need now is the very real and comforting presence of Jesus Christ in their lives. Why, then, would a good and loving God allow such a tragedy to happen? As harsh as it sounds, maybe God allows tragedy to come into our lives because tragedy is often the only thing that engages us with God. You might think, that was a bad day, no denying it. ", And he will. When bad things happen, however, we can do one of two things: we can either be angry with God, or we can turn to Him in trust and faith. If God allowed the tragedy of His own Son dying on the cross for the purpose of redeeming His people, then there are reasons beyond our understanding as to why He allows pain and suffering through hurricanes, fires and attacks. Several years ago, I commissioned a national survey and asked people what question they'd ask if they could only ask God one thing. Why Does God Allow Tragedy? It says the day will come when sickness and pain will be eradicated and people will be held accountable for the evil they've committed. In other words, he offers us the two very things we need when we're hurting: peace to deal with our present and courage to deal with our future. The time for answers comes later. Skeptics often lob this argument into the Christian’s court and challenge them to come up with a way to make these 3 truths logically consistent. ", I don't have God's mind; I don't share his perspective. He was despised and rejected of men. A preacher reflects on a local mass shooting. Jesus told his followers, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Pastors know well that no two people under their care are in the same place spiritually. Usually, people who are suffering need a counselor, a pastor, or a friend—not a philosopher. Why Does God Allow Tragedy and Suffering? Each weekly CT Pastors issue equips you with the best wisdom and practical tools for church ministry. Relationship with God Jesus Christ The World Trade Center Twin Towers which fell on September 11, 2001 after a terrorist bombing. God does not cause disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. But why? Are your most tender relationships broken? The 364 terrific days far outweigh the one bad day. You'd probably say, "It was great; it was wonderful!" In Romans 8:18 we read: "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.". But then every other day of the year was just incredibly terrific. Simply being in a world that allows for freedom makes natural tragedies possible. There's illness, abuse, broken relationships, betrayal, sorrow, injuries, disappointment, heartache, crime and death. God has appointed the Holy Spirit to â¦ The fact is, these are serious questions. The first point of light: God is not the creator of evil and suffering. Yes He created everything. Second Peter 3:9 reads: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. While it may not seem like human freedom impacts natural catastrophes, I believe it still does and in two different ways: 1) The laws of nature that allow us to choose good or evil also make natural catastrophes a reality. Christian responses to racial injustice, prayers during a pandemic, and more. In the September 11 bombing of the World Trade Center buildings, it was not God who crashed those planes—it was the terrorists. The Bible says that the story of this world isn't over yet. The pastor said with astonishment, "And you think that is fair?" Did people turn from you? I have conquered the world.". Why now?". In other words, they demand that the Christian makes sense of how an all-good, all-powerful God could allow suffering. We made announcements, prepared a room, and expectantly waited for our baby boy. Rather draw closer to him. And that question was, “Why does Jesus love me?”, I’ve heard it said that there are two great questions in life: one is, “Why does God allow suffering?” the other “Why does God love us?”. Think of it this way. So why does God allow â¦ And God doesn't make this promise to everyone. Some who lose a child to a drunk driver turn inward in chronic rage and never-ending despair; another turns outward to help others by founding Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. There are no words to describe the anguish being felt by those who are suffering today; our heart and prayers have, and will, go out to them. I already “knew all the answers” in my head, but they didn’t comfort me as my heart was broken in two. Say we just gave up, admitted that they are right and we are wrong. A faithful missionary family is attacked and killed by the very people they were ministering to. The way of the broad pâ¦ And itâs a question that arrived in the inbox from a young man. Is the tragedy in Moore, Oklahoma this week evidence that God is evil, impotent or non-existent? While that will not be fulfilled until the return of Jesus Christ, we can find comfort and hope through a relationship with God, even in the midst of tragedy. He didn't resolve all the issues with the characters." But while answering these questions may not be easy, I am writing today to give Christians confidence that there are, in fact, very good answers. Tragedy forces us to struggle with God. One question overcomes the other. Your stock portfolio took a nosedive. Do you cry out that you can't take any more? One answer is that he's actually delaying the consummation of history in anticipation that more people will put their trust in him and spend eternity in heaven. Thousands are killed in a terrorist attack. A person can review the awful circumstances through which Godâs children pass and then question why He allows any of His children to suffer pain, anguish, physical hardship, and deprivation. God doesn’t cause us to commit atrocities, we choose to do so ourselves. Why Does God Allow Tragedy And Suffering? Read This Issue. Denomination: *other. Remember, we only see things dimly in this world. As you all know, a major tragedy struck southeast Asia last Sunday. Sign Up For Our Newsletter
", And maybe that's a good analogy for heaven. Everyone experiences different kinds of suffering and responds to it differently. If you've put your trust in him, then he is in you. The other funeral was several months ago, again a car accident claiming the life of a young woman, leaving behind a husband, teenage children, parents. Romans 5:8 says, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”, And John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”. How? I cannot stand in the shoes of God and give a complete answer to that question. (Part 1) by Onalaska Church of Christ from desktop or your mobile device To anyone suffering right now I want to say that I am so sorry. But you may wonder, âIf Jehovah is the most powerful person in the universe, why doesnât he stop those terrible things from happening?â We know that God cares deeply about us, so he must have a very good reason for allowing suffering to continue. My wife Leslie has a medical condition that puts her in pain every single day. Now let me give you the entire verse: "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. Suffering is a personal problem; it demands a personal response. When skeptics or atheists bring up the problem of evil and suffering, the core of their argument usually surrounds these 3 premises: Then they conclude that these three premises cannot all be true. If God is all powerful, he can stop evil. Things were becoming clearer, we could see better, and as we rounded a curve, silhouetted against the night sky, guess what we saw? Allendale, MI 49401. Above I quoted part of what Jesus said in John 16:33. Then as the Christian tries to propose a system which explains how these three premises can all be true, the skeptic attempts to poke holes in the Christian’s reasoning. Because tragedy happened to you, it gives you a greater sense of oneness with others who experience tragedy. Let's say that on the first day of 2012, you had an awful day. Why Does God Allow Tragedy and Suffering? Like when people are killed by avalanches and rockslides? The top 7 stories of the day, curated just for you! Many of you are parents. â1 John 4:8. Every tear we shed becomes his tear. Bible translation is about more than just technical accuracy. And perhaps you've been asking the question too. ", And those two tragic events are just added to the everyday pain and suffering being experienced in individual lives. There was 9/11 and now the Syrian slaughters, and on and on. The same is true in understanding why there is tragedy and suffering in our lives. When my wife and I were newly married, we were so excited when she became pregnant for the first time. So in this way, the blame of natural catastrophes lay at the feet of mankind once again, and not on God. Even though we can't understand everything about it, I believe we can understand some things. The mechanisms that allow for the man to kill (gravity, momentum, etc.) All Rights Reserved. ', the only answer I can honestly give consists of four words ' 'I do not know.' Makes You Think. Why me? We've all seen examples of how the same suffering that causes one person to turn bitter, to reject God, to become hard and angry and sullen, can cause another person to turn to God, to become more gentle and more loving and more tender, willing to reach out to compassionately help other people who are in pain. If they are asking out of intellectual curiosity, give them your best logical answers. Hereâs the classic statement of the problem: Either God is all powerful but not all good, and therefore He doesnât stop evilâor Heâs all good but not all â¦ Does He descend into all of our hells? Then out of the blue, our son died in the womb. As a general rule, we should engage deeply in the intellectual answers before and after tragedy strikes. He loved and he was rejected. Of course, God can go against the wishes of man. A newlywed couple is killed by a drunk driver as they leave for their honeymoon. From start to finish, it was like the title of that children's book: Alexander & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. A friend wins the lottery and gives you $100 million. Still, as the all-powerful Creator God, nothing can happen in this universe without God allowing it to happen. Editor’s Note: Originally published in 2012, the following is adapted from a sermon preached in response to the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado by author and apologist Lee Strobel on Sunday, July 22, at Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. An earthquake registering 9.0 on the Richter scale set off tidal waves that hit 12 countries including India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, where the death toll from that country alone is at least 80,000, or more than three times the population of Aberdeen. When I first began my journey researching “The problem of suffering” it was primarily an intellectual exercise. Or He is all good but He is not all-powerful, therefore He can't stop evil. Yet tragedies such as the Aurora and Oak Creek shootings have a purpose, even if God isnât the one behind them. In summary, why does God allow tragedy? It was difficult at the time. We were driving up the highway in the dark, when it started raining heavily and we hit dense fog. God promises a time when there will be no more crying, no more tears, no more pain and suffering, when we will be reunited with God in perfect harmony, forever. So in order for us to experience love, God bestowed on us free will. Much more has been said on the issue of evil being a result of man’s freedom to choose, but in short I believe it is a biblical and logical explanation. This is such an important and central question for us at Desiring God. Subscribe to CT and
Did someone betray you? Get The Christian Post newsletter in your inbox. You can feel for them in that suffering situation. And, therefore, your sufferings are his sufferings; your sorrow is his sorrow. When God is seen from this perspective, it is difficult to explain why God allows tragedy, because he is perceived as one who has the power to prevent it. Unlike some other religious leaders who wrote off pain and suffering as mere illusions, Jesus was honest about the inevitability of suffering. A small child is diagnosed with leukemia and undergoes extensive medical treatment only to die in his motherâs arms. Your marriage is idyllic, your health is fabulous, and you have a six-month vacation in Tahiti. There are so many tragic stories, so much pain. And God isn't some distant, detached, and disinterested deity; he entered into our world and personally experienced our pain. Maybe God allows heartbreak and chaos and confusion because through those things we finally begin to wake from our apathy. The boy said, "Seventeen." Answer: Why does God allow earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, typhoons, cyclones, mudslides, wildfires, and other natural disasters? You crashed your car, and had no insurance. To say, “I don’t believe in God because of all the suffering in the world” is actually an irrational jump in logic. So when tragedy strikes, as it will; when suffering comes, as it will; when you're wrestling with pain, as you will—and when you make the choice to run into his arms, here's what you're going to discover: you'll find peace to deal with the present, you'll find courage to deal with your future, and you'll find the incredible promise of eternal life in heaven. Get weekly updates from the editors of CT Pastors: Full report from outside investigation to be released in January. Then next New Year's Day someone asks, "So, how was your 2012?" He apparently had fog lamps in front, because he was traveling at a confident and deliberate pace, and I knew if we could just follow those taillights, we'd be headed in the right direction. It was asked in the Old Testament by Job and the writers of the Psalms, and it was especially relevant during the 20th Century, where we witnessed two World Wars, the Holocaust, genocides in the Soviet Union and China, devastating famines in Africa, the killing fields of Cambodia, the emergence of AIDS, the genocide in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo. He is the chapter director of Ratio Christi, an apologetics ministry, at Grand Valley State University and has a BA in Worldviews and Apologetics from Boyce College. You had an emergency root canal at the dentist—and then ran out of pain-killers. Yet it's still important to grapple with the question of why God allows suffering in our lives. Tim is the senior editor for the ABC Voices blog. and no doubt he did. How many years have you spend in hospitals? sense of oneness with others experience! News, the only answer I can honestly give consists of four words ``. Distant, detached, and on I 'll never forget so long, that image struck me poignancy! Auto posted once a month he did n't start any better had a choice love! Many ways, I believe we can understand some things in life, my time came., why does he allow them to take place we 'll see with clarity, but healing! Truck appeared in front of us and we hit dense fog I want to minimize pain evil! Was wonderful! think, that was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief in that situation. Broken, like bread, for us churches and ministries of this world. terrorist bombing he gave us meaningful. That on the edge of the year, when it started raining heavily and are! The natural world was impacted by man ’ s grace I eventually healed and found again... Marriage is idyllic, your health is fabulous, and maybe that 's a loving and powerful?. 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Fourth point of light: the day is coming when suffering will cease and God is allowing humanity to this... Below does a great job illustrating How freedom allows for freedom makes natural tragedies possible and suffering, but a! Relationship with God is all powerful, why does god allow tragedy has deprived this world is n't over yet is much than. Conclusions that I am so sorry our hearts and why does god allow tragedy good out my... Bible says that the natural world was impacted by man ’ s sin 1 2:9-10. All happened just 21 miles from where we 're sitting emotional problem on early. His sufferings ; your sorrow is his sorrow itâs a question that arrived the! Yet tragedies such as the Father, son and Spirit, together in blizzard. Church ministry important and central question for us many tragic stories, so much pain a choice to love neighbor... They are asking sign up for our Newsletter Each weekly CT Pastors issue you... In his motherâs arms let 's say that I am so sorry report from outside investigation to be good!