Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of March 26, 2006

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Psalm 119:68 Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.
Philippians 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.

God is good, we believe that. God is also all powerful, we believe that. However, most of us have wondered at some point in our lives why an all powerful God allows the suffering and tragedy that seems so common place in life. I recently had an acquaintance approach me and tell me that he was thinking about not going to “church” anymore because he was convinced that the people who suffered through hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters were as good and as God fearing as the rest of us. He wanted to know what God had against those people. I felt he was “baiting” me and I didn’t even try to answer his question. I wish I had told him, though, that if God is that ornery, he really shouldn’t get on His bad side.

That God exists is self-evident in my opinion. Understanding that God is good requires us to recognize that we don’t always know what God is doing. That was the case with Joseph in Genesis 50:20. Neither do we really understand death. We assume that death is a great calamity, but Paul says that for a Christian to die is “far better” than living in this life. Death is a deliverance from sorrow and suffering for those who are truly trusting in the Lord Jesus.

So why does an all powerful God allow sickness and suffering? The pat answer is that we learn through suffering and that God will bring good out of the difficult circumstances. While that is true, could not an all powerful God have accomplished that same good without the suffering? The only answer that makes sense to me is that God can do anything, but that there are some things He chooses not to do. He could take people to heaven without being born again, but He doesn‘t. He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), yet because He will not force people to believe in Him. He cannot keep people from perishing that reject His Son. God, who can do anything, did not keep Adam and Eve from sinning even though He did not cause them to sin. Satan did. However, the all powerful God, would not force Adam and Eve to do right and as a result they had opportunity to do wrong. I believe that God’s attributes are balanced and that His righteousness requires Him to limit his own power. Once sin came into world, the principles of suffering and death because of sin were put into motion. God could do away with those principles, but He chooses not to. However, He will show His goodness by grieving with those who suffer just as He did when Lazarus died in John 11:33-36.

When bad things happen, we often blame God when we should blame Satan. Other times we blame God when we are just suffering the consequences of our own bad choices. We know that if we lie, people will not trust us. If we smoke we will likely die of cancer. These things are true for those who believe in God as well as for those who don’t.

Sometimes we blame God when we should be praising Him. We might miss a plane and find out it is the one that crashed. Our children might get a terrible disease and die young; but if they die before they can reject Christ, they will be in heaven. And it may be that the children would have rebelled against God if they had grown to maturity. We who understand that the cross of Christ was a terrible event that God has used to save us just have to believe that what God allows in our lives is for our good. We may not fully understand the ways and thinking of God, but we have to have faith in the truth that God is good and that He does good. If we lose our confidence in the fact that God is good, in my opinion life becomes depressing, without meaning, and pointless.

Bruce Collins

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