WHY DOES GOD KEEP LETTING BAD THINGS HAPPEN?
Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Maria. Multiple earthquakes in Mexico ... and now hundreds dead and injured in Las Vegas?
If you're anything like me, you've found yourself looking up at the sky, asking yourself (or yelling) "Seriously God? Why is this happening?"
I have absolutely no idea why God let Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria hit multiple countries, killing people, and altering the course of people's lives or allowing multiple earthquakes rock Mexico killing even more people and THEN allowing a man to kill and injure hundreds of people in Vegas this past week. There's no way that I can know or could ever know. I can't say why God lets natural disasters happen in the first place- big or small or why he allows for disease and hunger to kill millions or why he created a man knowing that he'd kill people on October 3. I just don't know. And there's absolutely nothing I can say or do that will make me or anyone else feel "better" about these awful events or change the effect that they've had.
What I do know is this: my God is a loving, all-knowing God and everything happens for a reason (cheesy, I know) and I can't help but trust Him. And while I can't necessarily understand or explain why God allows bad things to happen, I can look at these four truths from scripture that can help us in understanding what exactly God is doing- or better- not doing.
The goodness of God allows us to see how "bad" the bad things actually are.
In Romans chapter 8, it talks about the bad things that happen in our lives and it's reasoning is that in order to prepare us for the good things that God has in store for us, we may have to endure some suffering and "birth pangs" (MSG). It also touches on how the presence of the Spirit of God does not mean the absence of weakness or pain (or in this case, death, natural disasters) instead, it helps us work through those difficult times.
Over the past few weeks, I've received messages from both personal friends and complete strangers asking how I, as a Christian, personally deal with everything that has happened over the past month. My first instinct was to be angry. And I was. All I wanted to do was cry because every time I saw a picture on Instagram or read a post on Facebook, my heart was ripped apart. After long talks with God, I realized that he wasn't absent through all this. He was there. He was there in the hurricanes, in Texas and Florida and Puerto Rico and Mexico. He was there in Las Vegas with the people who were murdered and those that were injured. He was there with the people- the good good people- who jumped into action to triage and take care of people. How can I possibly know that an invisible God was there through all this? Because in a period of hate and violence and corruption where people are so angry and self-centered, we rallied- and we rallied together. It was us. We put aside our differences and we rallied. That's how I know.
God is in control and that control gives meaning to the bad things that happen.
If God is not in complete control than there is no way for us to give meaning to the bad things that happen. I love looking at the story of Job to help remind me of this when I'm in a season of struggle and adversity. The story of Job is a unique one (at least in my book) in that it gives us a special background, sneak peak into a conversation between God and Satan. In Job chapter one, Satan appears before God and challenges him saying, "Would Job worship you if her got nothing out of it? You have always protected him and his family and everything he owns. You bless everything he does, and you have given him enough cattle to fill the whole country. But now suppose you take away everything he has - he will curse you to your face!" (GNT).
(Job 1: 9-11)
The bad things that happened to Job were not caused by God and it wasn't because God was punishing Job. God described Job as one of the most faithful men who loved the Lord with everything he had. God allowed Satan to do bad things to Job and his family in order to prove something - in order to show the enemy how faithful his people really were.
We can never understand God's holiness.
I am by no means a prophet. Never have been, and as far as I know, never will be.
There was a time in the Old Testament when God showed himself to a certain type of person known as a prophet but when he sent his Son to die for us and our sins, God began speaking to us through Jesus.
I cannot and will not make assumptions about why God does things (as I'm sure we've all seen tv pastors do concerning certain behaviors being deemed ungodly and attempting to explain the mysteries of God - wait, wasn't Jesus supposed to come back and get all of us a couple weeks ago? Hm, maybe I was left behind) because that's the entire point, right? We're supposed to trust him, have faith in him - believe in things unseen and not understood. It's a choice I make everyday to trust in God while there is chaos happening all over the world and a person can decided when 200+ people's lives are over. It' not easy, but I do it anyways.
The presence of God is comforting in the face of adversity.
However, when we talk about how big and awesome and holy God is, it tends to paint him in a light of being distant and removed from the pain and suffering us humans feel here on Earth. In the book of Isaiah chapter 57, the author reports a message from God saying , "' I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.'"
These two verses are super important because it explains that although God is holy and mighty, he chooses to dwell among his children, the children whose spirits are crushed and hurting. God is a god of love and his presence reflects that. There are numerous times throughout the Bible that God's presence has been a comfort to those in need - both physically and emotionally. No one loves more than God. No one hates the bad more than He does, even though he allows it to happen time and time again. In an article in Relevant Magazine, the author wrote, "God is sympathetic but not limited. He is sovereign but not stoic. He is neither constrained nor callous."
I'm going to be completely honest. As a Christian in America of 2017, it's very difficult to watch every horrifying and awful thing happen and feel like the only thing I can do is pray. The last thing I want to do is #PrayforVegas or #PrayforHouston. I want to be doing something. I want to scream and kick and fight. I want God to do something, anything because it seems like while his people are here on Earth hurting, He's up in heaven straight chillin'. But that's not what's happening at all. Writing this was the hardest thing I've done for this website. The last thing I wanted to do was give God all the glory and look in scripture for truths. But I did. And I am so glad I did. Looking in scripture helped me understand why we pray and how truly powerful prayer is. It opened my eyes on the importance of the joining of God's people in prayer over something that has pretty much shocked our entire country.
I hope this was as helpful as it was for me, but if it wasn't - I get that too. Shoot me a message about your thoughts, feelings, opinions because I want it all.