Why do people get cancer? Why are there earthquakes that destroy entire cities? Why do people have to work so hard to barely have enough money to feed their families?
Subconsciously, we probably ask ourselves questions like that many times. But, consciously, we rarely do. We are so busy living our lives that we rarely stop and are curious to know WHY.
Then, something happens to wake us up. Our parents get divorced. The girl down the street is kidnapped. A relative finds out he has cancer. It wakes us up for a little while. But then we can sink into denial again, that is, until another tragedy happens, another inconvenience. So we tend to think: Something is not right here. Something is very, very wrong. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this!
So, WHY do bad things happen? WHY isn’t the world a better place?
There is an answer to the question WHY found in the Bible. But it is not an answer that most people like to hear: the world is the way it is because it is the world that we, in a way, ask for.
It sounds strange, doesn’t it?
What or who could make this world different from what it is? What or who could ensure that life is pain free, for everyone, all the time?
God could. God could handle this. But he doesn’t. At least not now. As a result, we are angry with him. We say: “God cannot be all powerful and completely loving. If he were, this world would not be the way it is! ”
We say this with the hope that God will then change his attitude on this issue. Our hope is that by putting a sense of guilt in him, he will change the way he acts. But God doesn’t seem to move a finger. WHY does he not act?
God is not going to move – he is not going to change things now – because he is giving us what we ask for: a world where we treat God as if he were absent and unnecessary.
Do you remember the story of Adam and Eve? They ate the “forbidden fruit”. This fruit was the concept that they could ignore what God said or gave them, and start a life apart from God. Adam and Eve had the hope that they would be like God, without God. They bought into the idea that there was something more valuable in existence than God Himself, something that was more worthwhile than having a personal relationship with God. And the system of this world – with all its defects – came as a result of the choice they made.
Their story is the story of all of us, isn’t it? Who has not said – if not in a loud voice, at least in their hearts – “God, I think I can do this without you. I just want to do it myself. Anyway, thanks for the offer. ”
We all try to make life work without God. Why do we do this? Perhaps because we all buy into the idea that there is something more worthwhile, more important, than God. For different people things are different, but the way of thinking is the same: God is not the most important thing in life. In fact, I can live mine completely without it.
What is God’s answer to that?
He allows. Many people experience painful consequences of choosing others or their own choice that go against God’s ways … murder, sexual abuse, ambition, lying / fraud, slander, adultery, kidnapping, etc. All of these things can be explained by people who refused to give God access and influence in their lives. They live their lives as they see fit, and they and others suffer.
What is God’s position on all of this? He is not proud. In fact, God can rightly be seen as the one who takes the initiative, with compassion, waiting for us to return to Him so that He can then give us a real life. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are tired and overwhelmed, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) But not everyone has the desire to go to him.
Jesus commented on this when he said: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that you kill the prophets and stones that are sent to you! How many times have I wanted to gather your children, like the hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you didn’t want to. ” (Matthew 23:37) Again, Jesus brings up the subject of our relationship with him:“Speaking to the people again, Jesus said:“ I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. ” (John 8:12)
But what about when life is not fair? What about those horrible circumstances that affect us in life; are caused by someone other than ourselves? When we feel victimized, it helps us to know that God faced horrible treatment from others. God understands more than anyone what you are going through.
There is nothing in life that can be more painful than what Jesus faced for our good; when he was abandoned by his friends, ridiculed by those who would not believe him, beaten and tortured before the crucifixion; then nailed to the cross, in a shameful public display, slowly dying of asphyxiation. He created us, and yet He allowed mankind to be free to do this, to fulfill the Scriptures and to free us from sin.
Nothing came as a surprise to Jesus. He knew what was coming; he knew in advance all the details, all the pain, all the humiliation. “While going up to Jerusalem, Jesus called the twelve disciples in particular and said to them: ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles to make fun of, flog and crucify him. On the third day he will be resurrected. ‘”(Matthew 20: 17-19)
Imagine knowing that something so terrible is going to happen to you. Jesus understands what emotional and psychological distress is. The night that Jesus knew they were going to arrest him, he went to pray, but took some friends with him. Taking Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him, he began to be saddened and anguished. Then I said to them:
My soul is deeply sad until death. Stay here and watch with me. ‘ Going a little further, he fell on his face and prayed: ‘My Father, if it is possible, take this cup away from me; however, not as I want, but as you want. ” (Matthew 26: 37-39) Although Jesus trusted his three friends, they did not understand the depth of their torment, and when Jesus returned from prayer, he found them sleeping. Jesus understands what it is to go through extreme pain and sadness alone.
This is summarized here, as John describes in his gospel: The Word was in the world, and the world was made through it, but the world did not recognize it. It came for what was yours, but yours did not receive it. However, to those who received it, to those who believed in its name, it gave them the right to become children of God. ” (John 1: 10-12) “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world, not to
There is no doubt that there is pain and suffering in this world. Some of them can be explained by selfishness, hateful actions on the part of other people. Other cases defy an explanation in this life. But God offers us himself. God gives us the knowledge that he also faced this, and is aware of our pain and our needs. Jesus said to his disciples: “I leave you peace; my peace I give you. I don’t give it as the world does. Do not let your hearts be disturbed, nor be afraid. ” (John 14:27) There are many reasons to be afraid, to be disturbed, but God can give us his peace, which is greater than the problem before us. After all He is, God, the Creator, the One who has always existed, the One who created the universe in a snap.
Even so, in all his power, he is also the one who knows us intimately, even in the smallest and insignificant details. And if we trust him with our lives, having faith, even though we encounter difficulties, he will keep us safe. Jesus said: “I told you these things so that you may have peace in me. In this world you will have afflictions; however, be of good cheer! I won the world. ” (John 16:33) He went through one of the worst threats – death – and overcame it. He can help us through life’s difficult circumstances, and give us eternal life, if we trust him.
We can still go through this life with or without God. Jesus prayed: “Righteous father, although the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made them known to you, and I will continue to do so, so that the love you have for me is in them, and I am in them. ” (John 17: 25,26)