With so much going on in the world today it is challenging to not feel depressed at times. It’s also difficult sometimes to not ask the question why? Between the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, and the shootings in Las Vegas, our world has become even more chaotic.
After the shootings in Las Vegas on October 1st I shared with the teens the thought of where or from whom we get our strength and hope. I think it is so important as parents and as a youth leader to have an open conversation with our children about what is going on in the world. We need to share with them from God’s word, to pray with them, and to let them ask questions.
We are in a battle, every day and every minute. It is not a physical battle; it is not a political battle. It’s not even a battle of ideas or beliefs. It is a spiritual battle we are all in.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
I am so thankful that we are not alone in this battle. Our God is with us and He goes before us into battle.
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Even when we are aware of the battle and we know God’s word, we all from time to time still have questions. One of the questions I asked God in prayer these last few weeks is: “Why do these terrible things happen?” I know God is still on the throne; I know He is a good God, but why does He allow these tragedies to happen and why is there so much evil? Some things this side of eternity are just a mystery and we simply must have faith. God also gave us His living word, and this is where He led me to.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world and death through sin, and thus sin spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12, NKJV)
It’s a heart issue, and God did not create the world in the state it is in now. Evil came as a result of the selfishness of man. The Bible tells us that God is a God of love and He desired to create a person and eventually a race that would love Him. But genuine love cannot exist unless freely given through free choice to accept God’s love or to reject it. This choice made the possibility of evil to become very real. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they did not choose something God created, but, by their choice, they brought evil into the world. God is not evil nor did He create evil. Man brought evil upon himself by selfishly choosing his own way apart from God’s way.
Adam and Eve made their choice and then their choice made them.
God could have made a world with no evil in it. However, it would have been one of robots and puppets—creatures who could not love Him or anyone else. Love is possible only for free moral creatures; forced love is a contradiction. So, in order for the world to be morally good, it must be morally free. And free creatures are capable of free choices that bring disease, disaster, and death. This is the world in which we live.
In “The Problem of Pain,” C.S. Lewis explains a second point about suffering.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
The truth is that God is more interested in our holiness than in our happiness. He is more interested in our character than in our comfort.
What Do We Do?
Jesus answered this in one word—repent. In Luke 13, Jesus hears the story of the Galileans “whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.” He asks if this happened to them because they were worse sinners than those who had not suffered such a tragic death. His answer was instructive: “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, NKJV). In short, in a free and fallen world, tragedies happen to people who are no more sinners than those to whom such events do not happen.
We are all sinners and we all need to repent and “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved” (Cf. Acts 16:31). Life is brief. You can never be sure how long it will last. We all should be prepared to meet our God at any moment.
Here is two verses that truly have blessed me in my walk with Christ and have comforted me time and time again during tragedy, pain and suffering.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Christ has overcome this world and He strengthens you and me, so seek Him in prayer and in His word. Ask Him to fill you, give you peace, and strengthen you. BE JESUS STRONG!