I was born in 1995. I’m only 20 years old. In that time I’ve experienced quite a variety of things. I’ve worked on a ranch. Managed a store in a lakeside tourist town. Worked as a chimney sweep. Travelled to many places throughout the states and made some friendships that will last a lifetime. I’ve had many joys and have loved a lot of people. But I’ve also seen a lot of pain and suffering.
I’ve seen suicide destroy. I’ve seen cancer steal friends and family far before people’s time. I’ve seen car accidents and Alzheimer’s break families apart. I’ve seen alcoholism and drug abuse ruin lives.
I’m certain all of you have had pain and loss in your life’s. I’m positive you all could tell stories of grief and heartache about the ones you have lost along the way. We all see the stories on the news of poverty, starvation, disease and terrorism that claim the lives of millions of innocents.
So how can I believe in a good God?
Isn’t saying there is a good God essentially spitting in the face of all those who suffer? Isn’t believing in such a thing as a good God, an insult to all the people who have lost their lives to cancer or terrorism? And what about the family and friends that still grieve their lost or suffering of loved ones? How could they want to hear about a “good God”.
Maybe that is you. Maybe your parents are splitting up. Maybe your husband or wife didn’t “win” their battle with cancer. Maybe you lost a child or a parent in a car accident. Maybe you’ve had to bury the person you loved most. I don’t know what exactly your suffering is. But I’m certain you’ve experienced it, and very possibly still are.
Perhaps this lost has caused you to question your faith, or this suffering has reaffirmed your atheism. Perhaps you are standing outside in a dark and rainy night, waving your fist up at God shouting “why?!” Yelling in your heart and soul that you’ll never believe in a good God.
At this point you are expecting a “but”. All these bad things happen “but” God still loves you. Your child is gone “but” God still cares for you. The cancer is back “but” God still has a plan.
There is no “but”.
I can’t convince, logic, or reason you into believing in a good God. There’s nothing I can do to make you believe. All I can do is tell you that there is a good God. All I can do is tell you about His love for you. No “ifs, ands, or buts”
Let me tell you about that God. Let me tell you about a God of love. Let me tell you about a God that grieves right beside you.
The losses I have suffered In the past have made me ask why God would allow such things. That’s the first question I have to answer.
Why does God allow bad things to happen?
War. Famine. Disease. How does that work with a good God? Why does He allow it?
He doesn’t. You see, God Created a perfect earth. The garden of Eden. A place without flaw, a place where there was no pain. Imagine it with me. Green grass, quiet waters, peaceful animals, and plentiful food. A taste of heaven. But with perfection comes a choice. If there is not an option to leave a place, it cannot be perfect. No matter how nice a place may be, if you can’t leave, it becomes a prison. Eden had a choice, an option to leave. An option to leave Gods plan and pursue a human one. Adam and Eve took this option. The world was lost to the ways of sin.
God is perfect and cannot exist in sin. The sins of humanity cause a rift between us and God. That rift is the cause of our problems. The cause of the pain and suffering.
Simply put, we exist in a place of pain and suffering because our sin separates us from our good God.
So when the bad happens, When the pain comes it isn’t directed by God. When cancer strikes it wasn’t ordained by God. When a car accident takes the life of your loved one it wasn’t in “the plan” of God. Those things happen because of the absence of God. Blaming God for our earthly suffering isn’t the answer.
If the cause of our suffering is the rift, there’s only one question left to answer.
How do we fix the rift?
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved”
Jesus is the answer to the rift. Taking Him into your heart gives your life a solution to the pain and suffering. That solution isn’t a “get out of jail free card” for suffering. It doesn’t eliminate suffering. But it gives it meaning. It puts hope in the darkest of nights.
I want to look at the most common of verses, John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
This verse is the hallmark of Christianity. The go to verse of the faith. Almost everyone knows it by heart. But do you realize what this verse says?
This verse drives home the idea of a good God. This verse is the offer to heal the rift. This verse is the foundation of Gods love for us. The love that saves us from our suffering.
God sent his only Son to earth. To live a perfect life. To be a perfect sacrifice. The ultimate atonement for our sins. So that whoever may believe may be saved.
Remember when you were a kid before Christmas? And you would scope out the gifts under the Christmas tree. Checking the tag to see which ones were for you, and who your gift was from. You knew what family members gift you were most excited for. You knew how many gifts you had waiting. The best gift in all of humanity has a tag that reads
That means you. That means me. That means anyone. Jesus died for anybody who wants to believe. Whoever would believe would have eternal life.
You want a good God?
Try the one that died for “whoever” would believe in him.
There is pain in this world. I know. I know that you may be hurting. I know that you may be angry at God. Take this opportunity to put your trust in a good God. Take this opportunity to start a new chapter In life.
End the chapter of anger. The chapter of confusion, doubt, and questioning. Lower your fist, come in from the rain.
Start a chapter that is defined by a loving God. A chapter defined by a God who died for whoever. A chapter defined by a God who died for you.