The above question is probably asked by millions of people each day. Atheists certainly use it to try to shake our faith. If you were asked this question could you provide a good answer? As Christians shouldn’t we have a decent answer?
A lot of people don’t understand why a loving God would allow such pain especially with Christians who are his children. First of all they are confused about free will and why it’s so important. If you had a baby and had the ability to program your child to be perfect would you do it?
The fact is we want our children to make their own choices including telling us they love us on their own not because they were programmed to do so. It’s not rewarding when a child doesn’t make the decision to love you but your programming did. Isn’t it rewarding when you see your child do something nice for someone else…once again not because of your programming but because you raised a good child?
I believe God is like a parent in so many ways. He could’ve programed us to do whatever he wanted (i.e. loving, kind, unselfish, etc.), but he didn’t. I’m sure like us he loves seeing the choices we make and the outcomes.
Haven’t we told our children what they should do and they do just the opposite? We know the long-term implications but they’re living in the moment. I believe God sometimes cringes when he watches us but this is much more enjoyable than if he already programmed us for success…the bottom line is how much joy is in that?
I think a lot of people don’t understand that God has feelings. It’s written all over the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments. David was a man after God’s own heart. Jesus pleased him when he was baptized. God has also gotten mad numerous times like with the Children of Israel complaining after he freed them from slavery…thus the 40 years of wandering. He flooded the earth because he was angry. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorra for turning their backs on him. God has feelings and I believe it’s critical we understand this.
I have a friend who lost his 16 year-old son (Brandon) to cancer. We prayed and prayed but he didn’t recover. Why did God let Brandon die when there were so many people praying for him? This is a very tough question. Not all our prayers are answered…well they are but not always in the way we want.
Scott and his family said they would’ve never have made it if it weren’t for the help from a woman who lost her little girl to cancer. She was with them from start to finish (she was there as Brandon passed away). She brought them an enormous amount of comfort and knowledge and she’s still helping other families now.
I couldn’t have helped Scott because I don’t have a clue how to deal with the terrible things he and his wife experienced. So if it weren’t for the woman who jumped in and helped I don’t know what would’ve happened. Why was she so qualified to bring comfort? The reason is she had the same awful experiences but something good has come from it. I don’t know how many families she’ll end up helping because she lost her daughter so good can come from bad.
What if God did heal everyone? If he’s going to do that then why wouldn’t he have placed us on earth without us ever having any medical problems? How would we treat our bodies if we didn’t have any worries about becoming ill; as for me, probably not good. How could we handle the population explosion because everyone was being healed?
It would be boring (another emotion he has), just like with any parent he hopes that after all is said and done we make our way back to him…that we return home. More importantly that we choose to go home…this is rewarding to God (the prodigal’s son).
The choices we make in all things including who we hang out with direct our lives. The education levels we pursue impacts our lives. How we treat other people affects our lives. I could go on and on; the reason I mention this is there are so many variables in everything we do so the outcome of our lives isn’t completely controlled by us; so when should God step in? Should God always save us from bad things that happen to us thus changing the direction of our lives? The only way he could do it is to take away our free will.
So why do bad things happen to good people? It’s because bad things happen to all people. Whether you’re bad or good is a free-will choice and that’s the way God wants it, once again because he wouldn’t want to program us just like we wouldn’t want to program our children. He’s our father and he acts this way.
Free will also means someone else can make a bad choice that negatively impacts you so there are things we can't control no matter how good our personal choices might be.
There’s way more to it than what I just shared but I hope it gives you directional insight. Like I said this question is probably asked by millions of people each day so as Christians I think it’s our responsibility to have an answer to this very important question.