Why Does God Allow Bad?

This first appeared in the August 28, 2002 LaPlata Home Press with the title “What?”

In 1977, Becky Conway of Urbana, Illinois, learned she had cancer in her knee. The cancer was bad enough that the doctors saw the need to amputate the leg. She was homecoming queen, a cheerleader, and an outstanding track athlete with a promising future and she was a PK (Preacher’s Kid). Everyone, even her parents, were down about her loss, but she never once lost her faith, never complained, and remained filled with joy because she knew God had something greater in store for her other than track. She had the opportunity to witness to schoolmates that wouldn’t have listened to her before because she was a PK and it was expected of her to be a witness. Several did come to faith in Christ because of her character and witness following the amputation (Moody Monthly article “…why is she smiling?” by Kay Oliver, Volume 79, #10, June 1979, pages 17-19).

Too many people see difficult and tragic events as unjust and unfair. Usually the question that is thrown around is “Why would a loving God allow or cause such terrible things to happen, especially to good people?” A lot of people have a pessimistic outlook and are actually looking for bad things to happen or to come out in people. They usually find it and then blame God, not knowing nor understanding all the details involved. So they ask “why” or “how?” These are the wrong questions. The proper question is what does God have in store?

Job is often called the most patient man in the Bible. To some extent this is true, but he asked the wrong questions when he lost everything and kept wondering what he had done that would cause God to allow or even bring such calamity upon him. God spoke with Job and asked, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Job 38:4. God’s emphasis was that HE IS IN CONTROL. Nothing is beyond his knowledge and understanding is beyond his grasp or power. God’s plan may allow calamity simply to bring you to faith. Job, you, and I are just people. God (sic) on the other hand is Almighty God, the creator and sustainer of all life. When bad happens, God still has something outstanding in store, or as Peter wrote, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold-may be found to result in the praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1:6-7

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I Just Don’t Know

I don’t get art. I mean, I am not an art appreciationado by any means. If someone paints an apple and it looks like an apple. I go, “Wow, that looks like an apple.” If someone paints a portrait than I admire the resemblance to the subject of the painting. But most art to me, is about as understandable as abstract art. There is no rhyme or reason behind it. The piece on the left here seems like light to me. But makes no sense otherwise. There seems to me to be nothing normal about it. Just colors. Just paint strokes. Whatever. I may like it, but it means nothing to me. It’s not an apple or a painting of a president or something that makes sense to my mind.

Today has been a difficult day. I guess it is the culmination of the past few days. Now there is tomorrow and I don’t know what that will bring. Life to me has always been, that’s an apple or that’s a president, not what is that?

Let me explain.

For me, life has been cut and dried. It is what it is and it made sense. I’m a guy, a product of a Christian home, 70’s music, a conservative understanding of life and politics and the Bible. I have been influenced by family, and church, and school, and friends (both Christian and not). I believe in marriage, that it is between a man and a woman, in parents raising their children, and punishment for wrong-doing. I can go on.

Life has always been pretty cut and dried. And I know a lot of the answers for why bad things happen to good people and why good things happen to bad people. You know, the problem of evil. I’ve even led people to a belief and understanding about God while┬ádiscussing the problem.

But today has been, well, abstract. All I know just doesn’t make sense at the moment. Why does a 90-year-old woman die of cancer and not old age. That’s what happens to younger folk, people ┬ámy age. Why am I working the grave-yard shift when it so unnatural to stay awake all night long every day of the week. Night is for sleeping, not for working. And so sleep doesn’t come in ways that gives rest and clear-headedness. Why is a work week not Monday through Saturday, but Wednesday through Sunday. Who thought of that?

What I consider normal, working during the day and not on weekends, and sleeping at night and eating 3 times a day at pretty much set times, and people living to be old but dying from being aged, is well, only normal to me I guess.

The questions of life come down to this. In everything, in every aspect of life, every moment whether “normal” or not, do I love God with all of my heart and mind and soul and strength, and do I trust him with all my heart.

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PS: Besides, I may be catching a cold. Now that sucks!