Life is a wild ride filled with moments that make us laugh, cry, and sometimes question the very fabric of our existence. One of the most common and perplexing questions that often arises is: Why does God allow bad things to happen?
It's a head-scratcher that we've all grappled with at some point. And although it’s a complicated question, answers are out there.
Why does God allow bad things to happen?
So, why does God let bad things happen in the world? Exploring this profound question requires a careful examination of theological principles and wisdom we can find in the Bible.
God respects our autonomy
Proverbs 15:3 tells us, "The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good." It's comforting to know that someone upstairs is paying attention. However, he isn’t controlling and dictating everything like someone playing The Sims – we have freedom to choose, and God honors that.
God hands us the steering wheel in Deuteronomy 30:19, saying, "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses." God respects our autonomy, letting us navigate the twists and turns of life. With this freedom comes responsibility, and sometimes, our choices lead to bumps in the road.
Sin has consequences
Because God honors our freedom of choice, he doesn’t interfere with the consequences of our actions – or the actions of others – good or bad. Sometimes the choices we make are influenced by our sinful nature. Romans 3:23 acknowledges that “everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard." In other words, we're not perfect, and our imperfections can cause some sour moments.
But here's the sweet part – even though we make mistakes, God doesn’t hold it against us. Because of Jesus, God can overlook our sins and shortcomings and offer us forgiveness and salvation. John 3:16 tells us so: "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."
Struggles can be a growth opportunity
It’s important to keep in mind that God never punishes us for our mistakes by putting us through hard situations. Disease, heartache, and distress aren’t things God throws at us to teach us a lesson – but that doesn’t mean we can’t still learn from them.
James 1:2-4 reminds us that we can allow the difficult experiences we face to grow our faith and increase our capacity in life. And sometimes, the pain we go through is an opportunity for the power of God to be demonstrated through our lives.
If you’re in the middle of a difficult season, a great prayer to pray is “God, as long as you have me in it, show me what to get out of it.”
God sees the bigger picture
Ultimately, we will never fully understand the way God operates. It’s like trying to solve a puzzle without all the pieces. We have limited capacity to comprehend what God knows in full.
Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us, "‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.'" It's like God is the artist, and we're the masterpiece still in the making. The missing pieces might make the picture unclear now, but it’s important to trust that the final result will be awe-inspiring.
Amidst the twists, turns, the most important thing we can do is keep trying to trust God’s process. Proverbs 3:5-6 encourages us to "trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding." It's an invitation to loosen our grip on the safety bar, trusting that God knows what's ahead even when we can’t see it.
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