by Stacy James
The biggest question with evil is, "Why doesn't God prevent it from happening?" If God is really an all-good and all-powerful being, why doesn't he do something?
First of all, God does not create evil; he allows it to occur. When he originally created the world, he created all things good. He created people, however, with the freedom to choose. This includes the freedom to make right and wrong choices. Often those wrong choices bring about consequences that end up hurting ourselves or other people, sometimes innocent victims who didn't deserve it.
As a college student, I was paralyzed in a diving accident. God did not push me in the water to punish me or necessarily teach me a lesson; I chose to dive off my friend's shoulders. As horrible as the consequences were, I can blame no one but myself.
Of course, God could intervene and control everything about our lives--the good and the bad--but then we would merely be robots and not truly free. He could even force us to love him if he wanted, but then forced love isn't true love. He gives us the freedom to choose or not to choose him, the freedom to live and enjoy life, and the freedom to make right and wrong choices. Unfortunately, we are left to deal with the consequences of our own and other people's actions.
Author C. S. Lewis said that 80 percent of suffering comes from the moral evil of mankind. So what about the other 20 percent? There are some things we will never truly understand here on Earth.
There is good news, however. First of all, the God of love is also a God of justice. For all those who make wrong choices, hurt innocent victims, and get off scot-free, a time is coming when they will face the consequences of their actions. God is the Ultimate Judge, and in due season, God will judge everyone for all their deeds. "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13).
Second, God often uses the trials of life for a greater good, often to develop our character and make us better people. And we are able to help others in similar circumstances. I have been able to reach out to disabled students (after my character was changed from complacency to compassion!). Trials also force us to see what is important in life, and often drive us to God when nothing else will. We see the importance of faith, of love, of caring, and of family and friends.
Third, God has provided a way out. A time is coming when there will be no more suffering. In heaven, people will enjoy a paradise beyond imagination. God has created a place of eternal glory where there will be no more crying, pain, sickness, or death; a place where people will share his joy forever.
Finally, God does care. He never promised life would be problem-free, but he promised to be with people. Jesus himself felt love, compassion, and sorrow, and was drawn like a magnet to those who were hurting. God, in his love, wants a relationship with us. "For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
To read Stacy's story, see her website at www.walkingvictorious.com.