yet able to gain all that is great."
I don't know who authored the following publication, but this short article was shared with me by a friend and it reflects my exact reasoning and belief for the age old question—now, as it ever was, is relevant to this generation…
“Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" (regarding the attacks on Sept, 11, hurricanes and earth quakes. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?" In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school .... the Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK. Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK. Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW." Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. Are you laughing? Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they WILL think, of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
God bless you as you share it with friends. No Nation or people can ever survive or succeed without Jesus Christ.”
As Anne Graham so articulately expressed in her answer, I’m inspired to piggyback on it and elaborate on some additional thoughts regarding God’s sovereignty.
According to the scriptures, we live in a fallen world. We were born with Adam's original sin in our DNA (figuratively speaking.) From our beginning, we are slaves to sin and we have all sinned, using our God given free will to do so. Therefore, we have fallen short of God's glory, in the presence of His holiness and perfect character.
Bad stuff happens, not because God lets it happen, rather, it's because we are wretchedly and spiritually flawed people in need of a savior. The Savior who saves us, not just from Satan in the eternal pits of Hell, but also from ourselves. Our own flesh battles against the Spirit. Its relentless desire to quench its thirst for folly, we can’t resist on our own.
I’ll use Anne’s aforementioned question ("How could God let something like this happen?") as an example of one twisted accusation. With it, the world slaps the face of God. It charges God as the one responsible for its own transgressions and hatred for Him. Among a plethora of amazing aspects of God, is an interesting wonder to marvel at. Man can't define what is good without the knowledge of evil. When did man’s knowledge of good and evil originate? Again, it was when Adam exercised his privilege to practice his free will. He chose to disobey God’s one command. Like a child, he wanted to taste the forbidden fruit, disregarding the dire consequences for doing so. However, that didn’t occur without external influence and deception. Entered the entity of evil on the scene, the father of lies, for his purpose.
God, The Father of Love, didn't create us as programmed species, where our only choice is to worship Him. That is to paint Him as an ultra-narcissist in need, or desire, for boosting His ego. He is way above this human notion that stems from pride and our finite wisdom. It’s a concept that was created through worldly minds that can only imagine it through a lens that is focused on itself. In other words, Satan, whom is in the world, wants to be worshipped as the highest God. “Highest?” This is an assumption that there are other gods to be revered. There is only one God, the bible declares it. When I examine this, I come to the conclusion that Satan is admitting that God is the Lord of all and no one else can, nor will ever be. The Devil likes to think of himself as a god, even as God, Himself. He is the poster-child for a delusionary worldly being. Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world, the apostle John tells us.
I believe the answer is simple. In God’s intricate plan in all wisdom, He created us to share His endless love and to love Him back, because He is love. He creates for His glory. That's it! He wants a personal relationship with you. His glory is magnified in us, when we choose to love Him. The more He creates, the more His glory expands. When we try to contemplate the length of infinity, it seems like there can’t be too much glory. He could have left out creation and still be the same God that He is, in all His glory. Each of us is a miracle made of love, deserving of nothing good, yet able to gain all that is great.
Back to the question; “How can a good God let bad things happen?,” as it is commonly phrased. His word tells us; “All things work together for good, for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose.” Unlike us, He can look into the future, because he created time and is outside of time. He dwells in eternity. He can see the whole line, while we can only see the point where we are on that line. When it seems that He is letting evil have its way, or that He can’t control it, remember, the creation is never greater than the Creator. How can we seriously question the morality of the all knowing, all mighty, omnipotent and omniscient one's actions, or non-actions, when He’s our Creator—the Author of Righteousness? He has granted Lucifer (the devil) the temporary status, to be the Prince Of The Air (ruler over the world.) Trust God! Scripture asserts that we should not have troubled hearts and to fear not, because Jesus the Christ has overcome the world. When we deny God’s rightful place in our society, in our schools, in our government, and I must say, even in some of our churches—His own house, none the less, how can we expect Him to divinely intercede on our behalf, when calamity threatens us? Do you know, He unconditionally loves us, so much so, that He may intercede to protect us, according to His will, even when we reject Him. We can recognize some of those times, with a little effort toward conscious awareness of changing circumstances.
Let me flip the narrative of the question. When pleasing things happen to/for and around us, how many of us ask; “How can a good God let this happen?” After all, as believers, if we have even the smallest amount of humility and intellectual honesty, we know that we are not worthy of grace. It’s a gift offering, given out of pure love for us to freely receive. How humbled we should be, knowing that the ALMIGHTY GOD, became human, subjected Himself to the filthiness of a corrupt and sin-filled world. Yes! God The Son became lowly and took all of our sins and placed them upon himself to the point that he became sin, without committing even one sin by himself. He became the perfect sacrifice to defeat sin, once and for all.
We are all created in God’s image and equally created are we. We are equally created under condemnation and entitled to nothing of good value.
When good, or evil, befalls us, I ask myself two questions. They are:
Why me? Why not me?
We are worthy of receiving nothing more than wrath. We are made worthy of receiving abundant grace, by accepting the gift of faith in and through Christ.
By the grace of God, go I. May it also be with you. Amen.