A common objection I hear from people struggling with the idea of trusting God is that He can’t be good because of all the evil He allows to happen. Often times this lack of trust is rooted deeper in personal tragedy or the loss of a loved one.
Put yourself in the shoes of an innocent six-year-old boy who loses his mother to cancer. In the midst of this boy’s pain and confusion, his dad or another relative searches helplessly for some sliver of understanding to give to his little broken heart. Crushed by the weight of grief themselves they seek to ease the pain by finding some higher “meaning” behind the sudden tragedy.
Scrambling for answers and in efforts to ease the pain, they ascribe the sudden loss to God, citing religious niceties like, “God is in control” and “all things happen for a reason.” Though it seems right, the result is a little boy who rightfully begins to believe that God is the author of cancer and death and that in any moment He sees fit He will usher people into the grave. For again he heard, “His ways are higher than our ways and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts.” This leads him to believe that following God can and will at any moment result in some tragedy falling upon him or his loved ones.
This story is not far from many that I have heard. And the tragic result of such misguided comfort and counsel is either atheism or a cold “trust” in God that leaves the “believer” connected to God in principle yet far from him in intimacy.
Many people have justified denying the existence of God on the false belief that He uses sin, sickness and death in His hands as tools to chastise people. It then becomes easy to mock those who trust in this “god” because it would appear to be insanity to surrender to a higher power that is so unpredictable, erratic and seemingly prone to kill innocent people at his own mysterious discretion.
Though many Christians may disagree with me, I would like to submit to you that if you have believed this about God, you were terribly misled. The Bible is explicit in saying that if someone wants to know what God is like, then he simply has to look at the life of Jesus (Hebrews 1:3). Again Jesus himself reiterates that if you have seen him, then you have seen the Father (John 14:9).
So before someone makes haste to deny God’s existence based on the belief that He is the author of tragedy, sickness and death, I encourage you to look closely at the life of Jesus. Study His life for yourself and see if you can find an example where He leaves someone sick to teach them a lesson. See if you can find a time in Jesus’ life when He celebrated death, sickness or tragedy and encouraged His followers to simply “trust God” because there was a higher purpose in it all.
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Image via Janko Ferlič