When bad things happen we naturally want to know why. Something the things that happen to us or around us that feel wrong. Something within us understands that life wasn’t supposed to be like this. Pain and suffering drive us to search for answers. Why is this happening? Why would a good and loving God allow us to experience so much pain and suffering? The heart of this issue is the problem of evil. If God is good and God created all things then did God create evil? Is God responsible for our suffering? Does He care? If God loves us why doesn’t He protect us from pain?
Why? That’s what we want to know. When facing hardships and death, when life seems unfair or unjust we want to know why. When we hurt we look for someone to blame. When life is hard it has to be someone’s fault. Often we place the responsibility on God. If He’s so powerful, if He’s so good, He should have stopped it.
First part of the problem is consequences. God loves us. He created us to love Him. For love to be sincere it has to be a choice. God gave us a choice. Love Him or reject Him. All choices have consequences. If God took away the negative consequences of our choice then we wouldn’t really have the freedom to choose. Thus we wouldn’t have the freedom to love and this whole system would be wasted. Every action has a consequence. In order for God to love us, He has to allow those consequences to exist. The problem isn’t just an issue of consequence; it’s an issue of evil.
Good and evil are not equal and opposite forces. In fact evil doesn’t exist. Just like darkness. Darkness is a term we use to describe the absence of light. Evil is a term that we use to describe the absence of good. God didn’t not create evil. We did. Evil exists because we rejected God. Evil exists because we wanted to be God, do our own thing, live our own lives, be our own boss. When we rejected God we created a world that was separated from Him. In that separation there is evil. If you want to know why bad things happen you don’t have to look any further than a mirror.
That doesn’t mean you deserve everything that happens to you. That doesn’t mean life is always fair. It means we live in a fallen world that has rejected God. If God is good and evil is the absence of God the more we reject God the more evil we will see. The pain and suffering that surround us are not God’s doing, they are a result of our refusal to accept Him. Evil is a life un-surrendered to God. An un-surrendered life will have troubles.
Even when we give our lives to God we still have pain. That is a result of living in a fallen world. Sin always has collateral damage. My sin can hurt you. Your sin can hurt me. Sin never colors inside the lines. Just because you experience pain doesn’t mean you don’t have a relationship with Jesus. In fact, Jesus tells His followers to expect suffering.
It doesn’t seem fair. Maybe it isn’t. Which can be a challenge. We want things to be fair. Bad things should happen to bad people. Good things should happen to good people. The two should never intersect. That way life is fair.
Life doesn’t work that way. If good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people what do we do with Jesus? Jesus was rejected by His own people, betrayed by one of His closest friends, wrongfully convicted, and sentenced to death. He was spat on, mocked, beaten, flogged, and nailed to a cross. The greatest person who ever lived suffered the worse fate imaginable. Life isn’t fair.
One thing life is not: fair. One thing we should never want life to be: is fair. We chose rebellion. We chose to reject God. God is the source of life. When we rejected Him we rejected life. If God gave us justice, if we received what we deserve, we would all be dead. If life were fair we would all spend eternity in torment. That’s not what we want. Life isn’t fair. We shouldn’t complain about it, we should be grateful for it. Because life isn’t fair we have hope. Because life isn’t fair we have can receive what we do not deserve, grace.
Evil happens because sin exists. Our rejection of God is ultimately the source of all the pain and suffering anyone will experience. Understanding the problem of evil may allow us to address the intellectual argument against God but it doesn’t solve the problem. There is no healing in answering the question why. So we ask a different question, who? When you suffer, when you are in pain, who are you going to turn to? God does not leave us in our sin. He doesn’t desert us to suffer alone. He sent Jesus to make a way. He sent Jesus to comfort and heal us. He sent Jesus to give us peace from the war we chose. There is not healing in why. There is healing in Him. The same God we rejected offers His healing love and grace to us, the very people who brought our suffering on ourselves. The solution to the problem of evil is simple: lay your burden, lay your pain, lay your life down at the feet of Jesus. Let the healer set you free. Let the healer repair that which is broken in you. Let the healer become the lord of your heart.