Many times following a tragedy or some extreme difficulty, I have heard people blame God for the terrible pain and suffering. Deaths, illnesses, accidents, divorces, drug or alcohol abuse, or a host of other things become God’s fault because we can’t explain them any other way. The thinking is that since God is all powerful and nothing happens that God doesn’t want to happen, then it is God’s fault when things go wrong. Though we may not effectively answer every question, we must realize that blaming God sets us up for a terrible spiritual failure. Too, it can cause us to miss opportunities for solutions and honest answers that might relieve the burden of our suffering.
I have long believed that the single best argument that atheists make to support their lack of belief in God has to do with questioning how an all-loving, all-powerful God could allow the terrible atrocities that occur daily among us humans. Their argument is not good because it doesn’t disprove God. It is good because people who believe in God don’t deal well with tragedy. We don’t have any good answers, and when tragedy comes our way, too many of us put the whole problem off on God. Essentially, we end up agreeing with the atheist. “How could God do this to me?” is not to far from “How could an all-loving, all-powerful God allow this to happen?” Christians need to do better.
The Bible boldly proclaims the righteousness and holiness of God. How righteous is righteousness? How holy is holiness? Very simply, God is totally righteous and totally holy. With God there is not even a shred of evil. Whatever God does, then, is necessarily righteous and holy. God does no evil, else he would cease to be God as proclaimed in Scripture. Somehow, we must make applications of these truths to the practical matters of evil and suffering in the world, especially when it hits near home.
“Why doesn’t God do something about all this suffering and tragedy?” That’s a good question. If God exists, and if he is all powerful, we should expect him to provide answers to the problems. Would it surprise you if I were to tell you that God already provided an answer? His answer is a bit hard for some people to understand and accept. You see, our view is that if God is going to provide an answer, then he’s got to fix everything like WE want it done. In other words, if someone is sick or maimed, God ought to make them well. If they are poor and destitute, then God ought to make the wealthy. If people are starving, then God ought to send them some food. If a hurricane hits and washes people away, . . . well . . . God shouldn’t have done that! It is not easy for us to see that God never intended to solve all the problems in this life on this earth. His solution came in the form of his own son, who lived, experienced all the temptations and stresses of any human, then gave his perfect life to redeem us from the disaster of this present world. Christians must be more future oriented, not toward a better government, nor a better society, but toward heaven. We don’t hear much about heaven, but there is God’s ultimate answer. The gospel of Jesus providers the medium by which we move from this world to a much better one. In heaven there will be no more sorrow. There are no tears to shed there. Problems, tragedy and all that causes pain and suffering are gone. God provided the way to get there and heartily invites us to join him in an eternal home.
If we could ever get our perspective right, instead of blaming God, we’d be praising God. Many years ago, sitting in a jail cell, surrounded by enemies, and facing circumstances none of us would want, Paul wrote to the church in Philippi “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4). How could Paul say that? He knew that God is truly a God of answers. That gives hope. Hope doesn’t blame, it looks forward to better things.
Bill Denton Living the Word, August 27 1990.
WHO IS TO BLAME?
We read in the papers and hear on the air, Kids don’t make movies. We don’t write the books.
Of killing and stealing and crime everywhere. We don’t paint “cool” pictures of gangsters and crooks.
We sigh and say as we notice the trend, We don’t make the liquor; we don’t run the bars.
This younger generation — where will it end? We don’t make the laws and don’t make the cars.
But can they be sure it is our fault alone? We might sell the drugs that muddle the brain,
But it’s started by older folks, greedy for gain.
Are they less guilty who place in our way, Delinquent teenagers – oh how they condemn,
Too many things that lead us astray? The sins of a nation and blame it on them.
Too much money, too much idle time,
Too many movies of passion and crime. By the laws of the blameless, the Savior made known,
Who is among us to cast the first stone?
Too many books, not fit to be read, For in so many cases it’s sad but it’s true,
Too much evil in what we hear said. The title “delinquent” fits older folks too.
Too many children encouraged to roam,
Too many parents who won’t stay at home. Joe Woody, High School Student