As we look at the world, many times it is easy for us to think that there is no rhyme or reason to what is happening. Images of wars, earthquakes, famines, dictators, and terrorists blanket the front pages of newspapers. Still closer to home, the loss of a job, a wayward teen, or the departure of a spouse leaves us reeling and the thought booms into our heads, "If God is in charge, why is all this happening?"
Ok, so this isn't an easy talk for a short blog but let's tackle a few simple thoughts.
1. If God micromanaged all human behaviour, then we would be robots instead of free moral agents. To say that God is to blame because a dictator oppresses his people, or a terrorist sets off a bomb is not logical. Either you want to be free to make your own decisions or you don't. If you want to be free to make your own mistakes, then you have to give the same liberty to the dictator and terrorist. I understand that the atrocities they commit are much worse, but they come from the same place...the human heart.
2. God did create a perfect world without evil. It is not His fault we are so messed up. The garden of Eden was perfect. It was Adam that sinned and ruined everything for everyone following him.
3. Trouble is a part of life. We would learn nothing about ourselves, each other, or our world if life was all gumdrops and rainbows. Scriptures tell us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. In other words, everyone experiences pain and sorrow in some form or another. That's life; that's also how we grow. This is the category into which natural disasters fall. These disasters are a part of a planet that has been in decline since Adam sinned and the earth itself was cursed by God.
4. If we know nothing of disaster and evil, how can we appreciate the good and wonderful? How would we learn to be grateful, if all we know was beauty and love? How would we fulfill our role as light in the world if the whole world was light?
Now some misguided "super-spiritual' souls blame everything on God. If they fall off a ladder, they don't blame their own clumsiness, but rather attribute the fall to God's sovereignty. On the other end of the spectrum are those who do not see God's hand in anything at all. Both views are out of balance. God is sovereign, but some things are the result of our own sin or stupidity. God is in control of all, but He's generally not going to stop you from risky behaviour. You want to bungee jump and sky dive? Go for it! But don't blame God for results that good common sense could have avoided, ok?
So, God is in charge. However, the plan He has put in place necessitates the free will of man...and man has bungled things terribly. God gave us free will so that we would love and glorify Him out of a free and happy heart. Anything less than the total freedom of mankind is slavery and robotic subservience, and that was not what God wanted of His creation.
This is probably a topic we will take up again at another time. In summary, God knows all of the bad that I will face this week. Some of it will come as a result of my choices, some as a natural part of life. I don't understand all of the "why?" I just have to lean on the "Who" and trust that He loves me and is working in my life for my good and His glory.