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Life’s Challenges

Why Worship a God Who Allows Suffering?

Q: "Why worship a God who allows horrible things, like a child being raped?"

There probably is no greater violation than a child being raped. It’s devastating to the victim in so many ways. When coming to terms with it, rage is appropriate. There is no explanation for such actions.

However, it is not God's fault that people choose to take the good he has created and corrupt it. It is not his fault that fathers molest their daughters or that mothers verbally abuse their sons.

We human beings are pretty much free to do as we choose.

How should we feel about the fact that God doesn't prevent other people from doing evil to us?

How should we feel about the fact that God doesn't prevent us from doing evil to other people?

We might wish that God established a set of boundaries, beyond which people would be punished. We might suggest that God kill any man who molests a child.

Well then, how about the producers of child porn that might have helped motivate the man to molest the child? Would it be right if maybe God killed them too?

Ok, what should God do with, say, people who are verbally abusive? Words can wound deeply. It seems pretty apparent we get to do what we choose to do. And I don't see how we can be angry at God for letting us do that.

Hasn’t God revealed to us how to best live our lives?

Is it not true that if everyone followed the 10 Commandments, no child would ever be raped or molested?

Is it not true that if everyone followed the 10 commandments, nothing would ever be stolen, no spouse would be betrayed, no one's son or daughter would be murdered?

Rather than control us, God gives us freedom. God does not interfere with anyone's choices. Rather he assures us that all will someday answer for what they have done and that justice will be administered. Judgment will be based on the guidelines given.

The problem is, being told how to live well, is insufficient. Even God says that.

God says we need something deeper.

Think of the people in your life that have had the greatest positive influence on you. A teacher or friend or relative. Someone you really admire. You loved their outlook on life. The way they treated people. You wished you were more like them.

They influenced both your heart and thinking.

In much the same way, God offers us not a relationship with religion or rules, but a relationship with himself.

A relationship with God carries us beyond simply obeying external rules of right and wrong.

Jesus invites us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”1

He says those who thirst for righteousness will be satisfied. Those who hunger for “life, more abundantly” will find it. This is something rules could never do. We need more than simply “trying to be good.”

Jesus invites us to receive him into our hearts, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…”2

If you have been a victim of another person’s actions, and you are still deeply struggling, God can heal your heart and mind as no one else can.

It can feel like a difficult choice…God, who didn’t prevent this from happening, is also the one who can comfort you and help you recover. Clearly, the other person was acting opposed to God’s ways. You have the option of coming to God’s love for healing.

Jesus knows suffering. He laid down his life for us on the cross.

He did this so that we can be forgiven. Things you’ve done in your life might not compare to what someone else might have done to you. Yet all of us have sinned in various ways.

Jesus was beaten, then flogged with a metal-tipped cat-o-nine tails whip, likely 40+ times. Then his wrists and feet were nailed to a cross where he hung till death. It was brutal torture.

Jesus knew ahead of time that he would die by crucifixion. He told his disciples on numerous occasions, that he would be arrested, then handed over to be “mocked and flogged and crucified, and raised on the third day.”3

He told them prior to his crucifixion, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”4

Jesus offers us this, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, abide in my love.”5 Jesus proved his love to us.

He invites us to go through life with him. To know him and his love for us. To be restored to the person he created us to be. This is the most valuable relationship a person could have. How to Know God Personally explains how you can begin a relationship with God.

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Footnotes: (1) Matthew 11:28,29 (2) Revelations 3:20 (3) Matthew 20:18,19 (4) John 15:13 (5) John 15:9

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