That’s the question that is on the lips of many right now. If God is good and all-powerful, how can He allow evil? Why are there innocent people suffering if there is a good God? I’m not a theologian. However, I’m a thinking, feeling, compassionate person who has also wrestled with these questions. Below is the basis of my understanding based on scripture, prayer, and my personal understanding of God.
8 The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.]1 John 4:8
God Gave Away His Power
God didn’t create us to be mindless, robotic creatures. He created us with the mind, a will, and emotions and gave us one of the greatest gifts: the ability to make our own decisions. If you think about it, love it; its core is the decision. It is not a feeling you can feel loving towards somebody, but you love them if you do not decide to love them even when it’s difficult for you. You can manipulate, control, or scare somebody into unfeeling obedience, but nothing is life. God gave us the decision to love Him to obey and follow Him. Allowing us free will is God’s self-imposed limitation on His mighty power. In effect, God gave away His power to control us by giving us a choice between good and evil.
15 “If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments.John 14:15
Love is an Action
I’ve been guilty of saying how much I love Christmas or chocolate. Our society throws the word “Love” around too freely. Love is deep and sacrificial. If you tell your children you love them but don’t feed them, defend them, provide for them, or support them, they won’t feel loved. Why? Because loving words without corresponding actions is not love. We have all experienced those people who say they love us but don’t act like they do. How do we know if someone loves us? By the decisions decisions and actions a person chooses. Jesus had a pointed discourse in John 21:15, where Jesus made it clear that love was an action, not just words. Jesus told Peter that to show love to Him, Peter must love and care for God’s people. He expects the same from us today. What if we all took care of one another?
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Adam and Eve were lovingly given the gift of free will, including the ability and opportunity to choose between good and evil. They had everything: no sorrow, full use of their minds, no need, lack, or hunger, and better than anything, they got to walk with God and talk with Him personally every day. God warned them that eating from the one tree would cause death, and while they had millions of beautiful and delicious options, they chose death. This resulted in their banishment from living forever to dying and entering a dying earth. Eden and eternity were closed to sin. All humans on the earth were born of parents who sin. We show our love for God (and others) by being obedient to His commands. God didn’t destroy us and create a new human race. In His goodness, He made a new way to redeem us from death and open eternity to us once again.
17 For if by the trespass of the one (Adam), death reigned through the one (Adam), much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in [eternal] life through the One, Jesus Christ.Romans 5:17
God gave us the Ten Commandments for us to live well with each other. Every single pain and wrong can be traced back to someone violating one of many of these commands. How different would this world be if we followed God’s commands? What if none of us decided to kill, steal, lie, commit adultery, covet, or be jealous, just to name a few? The world would be different, but no one can go through their life without sinning, but no one can. Instead, we have invited God out of our lives, country, and society. We all sin; try living for one week without breaking one of the Ten Commandments. There’s no gradient. One sin makes us unfit for a perfect heaven. We don’t live in Eden; we rejected God’s rule, so we live under the rule of sin. God, in His love and compassion, made a way for us to be forgiven.
25 who was betrayed and crucified because of our sins, and was raised [from the dead] because of our justification [our acquittal—absolving us of all sin before God].Romans 4:25
Lord, my heart is heart heavy for all the suffering that is happening in the world right now. My mind is full of questions. I don’t know everything but. I know that You don’t delight our suffering. Thank you for showing Your love and salvation from sin by sending Jesus to die in my place. Please forgive me for my sins, known and unknown. I ask you, Jesus, to be the ruler of my heart and guide my decisions and my actions so that I may show love to You and my fellow human beings. In Your Name, Amen.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.1 John 4:7-12