I have had a lot of great responses to my book – Do You Want to Be Healed? Allowing God to Heal Brokenness in Your Life – for which I am both humbled and grateful. But I heard one response the other day that kind of surprised me.
A friend had read it and then passed it along to someone she knew thinking it would be helpful in her life. At first the person read it and thought it was helpful, but then she hit a spot in the book and became angry and had to put it down.
Angry? I didn’t think I wrote anything that would make someone angry, but when I heard the details about the objection I realized that anger may be a response, and perhaps I should spend a couple minutes on the subject in the blog.
The issue that stopped this reader was when I said that God is in control of everything and that even Satan cannot do anything without God’s permission. The obvious conclusion one draws from this truth is that God then allows evil, and if God allows evil how can He be a loving God? This is an extremely difficult concept to grasp, as well as one of the most important things we have to embrace in our faith.
Here are some basics from Christian theology:
- God is Omnipotent (All Powerful), Omnipresent (Everywhere), and Omniscient (All Knowing).
- Because God is Omnipotent He is in charge of all his creation, including the fallen angels who rebelled against Him.
- When God created angels and man He gave them free will. Why? Because one cannot force love. God loves us and wants us to love Him back but he cannot force us to love Him – that would not be a relationship it would be a dictatorship.
- Some angels and man rebelled against God, using their free will to choose against Him instead of loving Him, which in turn set the world we know in motion.
- The angel Lucifer and a third of all the angels in heaven were kicked out and thrown to the Earth where Lucifer (Satan) became the prince of this world. His job is simple: Satan and his angels try to keep man from being in relationship with God.
- Man has free will and thus God allows man to choose between what God offers us and what Satan offers us. God must allow us free will if we are to truly have relationship with Him, but that free will allows Satan to tempt us into committing all sorts of transgressions, including preying on each other. Think of any evil in the world and you’ll discover that it all comes down to a free will choice someone made against loving God and doing what He wants us to do.
- What about natural disasters that kill thousands? When man fell to sin all of creation fell as well, meaning even natural disasters (earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, etc…) occur do to our fallen existence. Instead of living in perfection we live in a fallen world with fallen people and fallen nature.
- Last thought: Even death itself was never in God’s original plan for us! We are intended to live with God forever, but when we fell physical death came with spiritual death. That is why we grieve so hard when a loved one dies – our very soul tells us that it’s not supposed to happen like that! Spiritually we know we are supposed to be together forever and the pain we feel through that separation is a spiritual pain. God never takes someone too soon (or too late!); we just struggle internally because something inside us tell us this is not the way it’s supposed to be.
I get how easy it would be to blame God for all this – if God truly loved us He wouldn’t allow all this bad stuff. Here’s the problem with that argument: Whose freewill should He take away? Mine? Yours? Just the criminals? See we all fall short of the glory of God and it is the height of hypocrisy for us to tell God to take away someone else’s free will because they use it for evil when every day you and I both sin against God, using our free will for evil, too. Here’s the hard part: in our humanness we rate sin – murder is worse than shoplifting and rape is worse than lying. But God doesn’t see it that way – all sin is sin and all sin can be absolved through confession and repenting no matter how bad we may think that sin is. God doesn’t grade on a curve.
Here’s the truth: the pain and evil in our world is not God’s fault. His plan was for us to walk with Him in the Garden in perfection for eternity. Man messed is up by choosing against God and for Satan. But there is good news.
God loves us anyway! In fact, His plan is to redeem the entire creation. If you’ve not read Revelation chapter 21 do so! At a time of His choosing God is going to recreate the heavens and the earth and the perfection He intended will be realized and we will be in perfect relationship with Him and each other. It’s going to be awesome!
But what if you’re in pain right now? What if you think God is to blame – even partially – for that pain? I would tell you that you need to go to God and tell Him what you’re thinking!
King David was considered a man after God’s own heart. Yet if you read his Psalms he’s often complaining to God about something! David’s Psalms have a pattern to them. First he voices his pain to God with complaints ranging from people trying to do him harm unjustly to God not answering his prayers. Then David recognizes God’s sovereignty and basks in the fact that God really has not abandoned him and that he is loved.
You won’t be the first to shake your fist at God – I’ve been there, too! Luckily our God is big enough to take our anger, our hurt, our pain, and our confusion about His ways (which our not our ways) and then comfort us by letting us know that He is there, He does care, and He will bring good out of everything on this earth if we let Him.
Does God allow evil in the world? Yes, God is in control of everything even what Satan can and cannot do. And while I like you would love for God to take my sin nature away from me so that I could follow Him completely, God loves me too much to do that. God wants all of me and all of you based on our decision to follow Him completely even if it means there are those who will not choose Him, who will commit evil, and who one day will stand before the judgment seat to explain why they did not want relationship with their creator.
I hope the person reading the book will get back to it. I think there is more in there for her that will help her over this hump. If I were to meet her I would tell her not to give up on God because He’ s never going to give up on her!