Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why does God permit bad things to good people?


I think this is an excellent question, though I think it's worded in a way to make a negative answer. Someone mentioned recently about how could God allow a man like me, who works for God and tries to do God's will, to need to have his spine fused. Or how I could have a condition like nephritis. Why does God allow good things to happen to good people? First, I have to admit I don't consider myself a good person. Rather a flawed one, one clinging to grace, and trying to do what's right. But I do think this question needs an answer, and many just haven't seen it.

God is in control, I think all Christians agree in that. But we are also taught that God will not allow us to go through anything we cannot handle. Like Job we may indeed have to bear many burdens, and pick up a heavy cross, and follow our Lord. Just like Job, it was by God's permission that the things were allowed to be done to him. We know that God allows it, but do we really understand that God may also be preventing a good deal of pain?

Take my back for instance. I had a condition called scheuermann's kyphosis. My back had always had it's problems, but towards the end of 2006 early 2007 it got to be a very difficult burden. I had trouble sitting for any length of time, and I had trouble standing. I came home from work in terrible pain, and was simply unable to bear it. I ended up having titanum rods put in my spine. 26 screws, and 6 feet of rod. I still struggle with some tasks, and if I over do it I will have to spend some time laying down the next day.

Why would God allow that to happen? Or better yet what if instead I ask, what did God prevent? We know that God gave the surgeon the ability to fix my back. My back isn't getting worse anymore, and now I know my organs will not eventually be crushed by the worsening of my spine. I'm in pain, but no more than before. Instead of progressively getting worse, I am remaining pretty much the same. You see, I'm not going to die from it, and God gave us that knowledge and guided the surgeons hands to prevent me from dieing on the table.

I don't think God creates a great deal of the pain that we experience, though He could prevent it. How much of our diseases and hardships are we creating in our own food? Our diet? Science has proven that meat consumption is directly linked with cancer promotion, but we still eat meat. Science has proven that chlorine and flouride are detremintal to our health, but we still put it in our water. We know that pesticides get absorbed in our bodies and in our foods, but we still allow them to put pushed on to the food that we eat. I believe a great deal of cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and many other disorders could be solved simply by diet alone. While God permits us to do our own free will, we are truly to blame for a vast majority of the pain in the world.

We create the imbalance in the world by destroying rain forests, by feeding 80% of our grain to build meat and dairy, when it could be feeding the world. God isn't really sitting by and causing calamity, we really are in our own hearts. Could God stop you from doing things that harm the environment or each other? Yes he could. Instead though He has given us free will, will to choose what is right over what is wrong, and He has left those cohices to you and I. We also have to remember that God can do many things, but in the end He also chose to let Jesus die on the cross, for us. He could have at any moment lifted Himself off the cross, and rebuked all around who were harming Him. But He didn't, He instead extended forgiveness to those around and to all of us.

There is a beautiful movie, called the Robe, that illustrates this perfectly. Peter tells Marcellus (forgive me if I got the names wrong, it's been years since I read that book) that he has to meet this young girl, who Christ healed. When she comes into the scene, she can't walk. Her legs don't work. How could Christ have healed this young girl? She is still crippled! Instead she tells Marcellus the story of her healing, how that she was bitter and angry and now she was full of peace and joy! You see healing isn't always physical, but it IS always spiritual.

Who knows how much worse things could have been? What has God put his hand down and said, No you shall not harm this child anymore. How many times did he save someone from being shot in a robbery? They were still mugged, but they are alive! They could have been killed, and that alone is a blessing from God. How many times have you seen someone in a car wreck, where the car was totally smashed and the person walked away without a scratch? I've seen it first hand with my cousin Tate. The doctor said that if the steering wheel had gone in one inch more, Tate would have been dead. He was beat up, and hurt.. but he lived. How many times has God helped you by carrying you when you thought you couldn't walk, or how many times has he given someone 10 or 15 more years than they would have had? Sometimes we forget when someone dies that they were in pain, and maybe, just maybe they couldn't have taken it anymore. Or maybe, they were supposed to have died years ago, but God gave them a few more years for our sake?

We definitely have to begin looking for the blessings in our life, and not the curses. Looking to see God's love multiplied around us, and not looking to see what he hasn't done. We need to start giving from our hearts, until every child is fed! Every person is clothed! And starvation is a thing of the past. We need to educate and put our bodies to doing God's work. Let's start helping one another, and sharing the Grace that our Father has extended to us.

In Christ,
Brian