Suffering, Justice, and God’s Will

Why do bad things happen to good people?  A spouse comes down with cancer.  A child dies suddenly; and as your friends gather around you for support and words of comfort, one of them says “This is all part of God’s plan”. And you just think to yourself, that’s crap.

You can only have a couple of thoughts in those situations.  1.) God is in control and this tragedy is a result of my sinfulness.  It’s God’s justice on me.  Or 2.) it is the result of a sinful world that God must allow to act our free will in order to realize His grace and love.  The first one, you must constantly live in fear of some unconfessed sin that will befall calamity on you.  It’s worship based on fear.  And while we are instructed to fear God, that fear should be more of awe and wonder.  Not a fear that could be related to vampires and zombies.  A fear for our lives that at any moment a moody and vindictive god might strike us down.  Therefore God doesn’t allow bad things to happen to good people.  All people are bad and bad things happen to them out of God’s justice in response to sin.

In the book of Job, we find the story of a rich man who serves and loves God.  And as God and Lucifer are swapping stories, God points him out, to which Lucifer accuses Job of loving God because God blesses him.  To prove him wrong,  God permits Lucifer to create catastrophes in Job’s life.  Job loses everything but his life and his wife.  So what are we to learn from the story?  Is it that God may not cause the disaster, but find a way to use it?

In her song Blessings, JJ Heller asks “What if your mercies come through raindrops, what if your healing comes through tears.”  God’s grace, love, and mercy can come from pain, but He doesn’t mean to do you harm.  Like a child who is disciplined, there is love and kindness behind His actions.  He can take good and make it bad.  But I despise it when people say “God has a plan for you through this”.  He may have a plan for you as a result of this, but I don’t believe that pain and suffering is part of God’s plan for you.  Who would want a God who plans on inflicting unwarranted suffering on you?

All the times that Israel turned from God and were taken into captivity.  Each time He called out to them to turn and serve him so that they might enjoy his blessings.  Their punishments were a natural result of their own  deeds.  He couldn’t protect them and bless them if they didn’t want Him to.  God’s will is not to cause death and pain.  Those things came as a result of mans choosing his own path.  Pain and suffering are a result of our own free will and decisions.  And God’s justice must take place as a result of our free will to reject Him.  And God’s grace and love take place as a result of our trust in Him to strengthen and guide us through it.

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