Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Question: Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People? Week 4 - Free Choice

3“May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ 4 That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it. 5 May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm it. 6 That night—may thick darkness seize it; may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months.7 May that night be barren; may no shout of joy be heard in it. 8 May those who curse days curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan. 9 May its morning stars become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn, 10 for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide trouble from my eyes. 11 “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? 12 Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed? 13 For now I would be lying down in peace; I would be asleep and at rest 14 with kings and rulers of the earth, who built for themselves places now lying in ruins, 15 with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver. 16 Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day?
17 There the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest. 18 Captives also enjoy their ease; they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout. 19 The small and the great are there, and the slaves are freed from their owners. 20 “Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, 21 to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure, 22 who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave? 23 Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? 24  For sighing has become my daily food; my groans pour out like water. 25 What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. 26 I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

Ever feel like Job? Job lost everything, money, land, children. When we speaks this, he’s sitting in a garbage heap, his body is covered with boils that he’s using broken pottery to scrape against his skin to garner some relief from the pain.
Job’s life has been destroyed within a few months and he has no idea why. And the realities he never finds out. He’s never told, why it has happened, even though he gets to speak with God himself. Now as the reader, we know. We know that God pointed Job out to Satan because of Job’s great devotion to him, and because of that Satan was allowed to destroy this man’s life. But Job never knows about that. Instead he asks the question that we tend to ask when calamity hits us, “Why is this happening to me.”

Jesus spoke to his disciples and said, “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. (John 15:20)”
Throughout the Bible, God is never shy about how the world works. In fact God calls the world wicked. Time and time again, God has searched for people who would be righteous, telling one person that he would spare a city if there was even one, but their wasn’t and the city was destroyed.

In the past few weeks, we have talked about the question “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” In that question we found that bad and good are subject to our interpretation, and what we’re really asking is why would God allow those things I believe are bad to happen to me a good person.
But when thinking through this question we realized that in order to understand why God allows bad, we must ask God to tell us what is bad. That’s when we recognized that we aren’t really the good people we think we are, and really nobody is. Because all of us have sinned or done what God says is wrong.
In the end, we talked abbot how the real question is why does God allow us bad people to continue, and to that the answer was simple he loves us.

But God isn’t shy about the evil in the world. He doesn’t turn away from it and doesn’t outright destroy it because of his great love for people.

And this brings us to our final week in this topic of answer the question of why does God allow bad things to happen to good people, or the better question, why does God allow us bad people to continue?

And the answer is, love is based on decision. God loves us because he has decided to love us. But to love him, we too must decide to love him. And when we decide not to love him, our only option is to embrace sin. And when we turn away from God and embrace the sin, bad things happen.
And God could stop it and blot us out, but he doesn’t, because that wouldn’t be love. Every choice we make is an extension of God’s love. That means both good and bad can come out. 
But, couldn’t God stop bad form happening that impacts other people? Like rape and murder, and abuse? Yes, he could, but if he takes one person’s free choice, why not take your’s as well? Where does it stop? We’re all bad. We’re all incapable of being good on our own. Even at our best, we’re still going to hurt others.
So God makes the decision to be the only one who truly loves, and doesn’t just get rid of us, but keeps pursuing us until we no longer can make that free decision to love him.

So in this world, God doesn’t say he will stop the bad, but rather in the bad, he will be with us. He will comfort us, he will help us overcome evil with good.

Love and free choice walk hand in hand. If God wanted us to experience love, he must allow us free choice, but then that means we can embrace bad. But when bad happens he is there, and that’s the promise of Jesus. Jesus shows us God’s great love to push through any boundaries we set up that are evil. And when evil comes, he will be with us. Just as he was with the young man in the Russian army, or the two girls in Pakistan, and the teenage girl at Columbine high school. 

As we end this series on this question of why evil, I want us to know that in the bad God says he will be there. I want to share with you the song Held by Natalie Grant.

And I want to call you to embrace the love of God, because in everything he has worked to show you his deep love.

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