I think the answer is, using an analogy, is like those of you that are parents. Niki and I have three children. When you were pregnant you probably knew that there was a very real possibility that your child would endure suffering in their life, some pain and some hardship. That your child would have some disappointments in life, some failures in life and that they may even reject you. You child may walk away from you and cause great hurt to you. And yet knowing the very real possibility of that you went ahead and had kids anyway. Why did you do it? Because you also knew there was also the very real possibility the potential for tremendous joy and a loving relationship and a deep meaning in that relationship that you would have with your child. If you knew the problems and pain would be a part of life would you have that child anyway? I would and we did!
And the same thing is true with God. He knew that we would rebel against Him. But He also knew that many people would choose to follow Him, would choose to love others, would choose to spend eternity with Him in heaven. And it was all worth it for those people even though it meant for Him the suffering and the death of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross. The third point of light is this:
- Evil Is Temporary And Each Evil Deed Will Be Judged.
The day is coming when evil will be judged. A lot of times you hear people say, “If God has the power to eradicate evil and suffering, why doesn’t He do it right now? There are people suffering in this world this very moment. Why doesn’t He come back right now and cause suffering to cease and to judge evil?” The answer, I believe, is just because He hasn’t done it yet does not mean He’s not going to do it.
To criticize God for not coming back yet or not taking care of every case of evil immediately is almost like taking a John Grisham novel, reading the first third of the book and then throwing it away and say, “What a stupid book! He didn’t tie up all the loose ends of the plot.” The book’s not done and God promises the day is coming when He will consummate history and then evil will be judged.
We think of a child being murdered such as Jon Bennet Ramsey and what a horrible thing – an innocent child murdered and somebody’s apparently gotten away with murder. They haven’t gotten away with murder. God will judge that person and they will be held accountable for the crimes they’ve committed. They’re not getting away with murder. Even in our courts and judicial system we have what’s called “due process.” Can’t God work in His time table or are we going to tell him how and when to do things?
Why doesn’t God come back now? Why does’t God judge evil immediately? Because of His love, that’s why. When God ends the world, it’s over! When He brings judgement that’s it. Are you ready for judgment now? Are your loved ones, friends and neighbors? Our memory verse reminds us: 2 Peter 9:3, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
I’m so thankful God has been patient with me! I have walked away from Him and said, “I want to live my own life!” If people said they were praying for me, I would say, “Don’t pray for me, I want to do things my own way, not Gods.” But God never gave up on me. He was patient and I’m so glad.
What is this verse saying? God is saying, “I am holding back the curtain of history, holding back the consummation of history.” Why? Because of some of you, some of you don’t know God yet, he waiting. He’s patient. And if God were to come back at this time you would be shut out of knowing Him. You’d be shut out of heaven forever. You would be judged for every evil deed. But when you trust and receive Christ, he took the judgment that was due to you and it was put upon him.
24 He took our sins on himself, giving his body to be nailed on the tree. 1 Peter 2:24 (BBE)
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
God says, “I love you so much I’m going to hold back the curtain of history knowing that some of you may very well make that choice saying, ‘God, I want to turn my life over to You. Take my sin. It’s paid for on the cross. I want to spend eternity with You in heaven.’” The reason God hasn’t come back yet is an expression of His unbelievable love for you.
Have you received him? If you want to do that just pray this prayer: “God I’ve chosen in the past to do my own thin. Today I choose to follow Christ. Come in my life, forgive me of my past and help me follow you.” In Jesus name Amen.
God doesn’t give us the answer to “why,” but does give us His presence. He promises:
8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” Psalm 23:4
“And surely I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
When I ask the question “why is there evil and suffering?” I don’t always get the answer I’m looking for but am given Christ who will be with me.
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