“Is anybody listening? I’m very concerned …”
A few days ago, after a horrific week of carnage here in the United States, I posted a prayer on Facebook, and this was the reply from one of my old friends. I hastened to assure him God was indeed listening, and He cares very much for each one of us. Even so, the question, “Why does God allow things like this to happen?” remains, and there are no easy answers.
We all know evil when we see it, and in our hearts we know it should not exist. We long for justice. So we wonder, “Why doesn’t God do something? Why aren’t our prayers answered?” God is all-powerful, but He has limited Himself in dealing with humans, because He has given them free will. We can choose good or evil, generosity or selfishness, love or hate, industry or idleness, peace or war. But ever since the first “choosers,” Adam and Eve, made the wrong choice, the human heart has leaned toward depravity, not honor, toward despair, not hope, toward lust, not love, anger, not peace.
We want to have it both ways. We want to be able to ignore God, living our lives on our own terms, but when something happens that we can’t control, we want Him to fix it. We excuse our own wrong-doing, but want others to be punished for theirs. None of us live up to the truth we know in our own hearts. Deep inside we know we fall short of what we were intended to be. In His love, God provided the hope we need, the perfect world we long for, and the way to get there. Christ died to atone for our rebellion, and rose from the dead to prove His power and to give us hope. He promised that those who turn to Him in faith, abandoning their rebellion, would become part of His eternal kingdom. That offer is still open to everyone!
But what about our world today? Yes, He has promised to return one day and set up His kingdom of justice, mercy, and peace. But what about now? The secret is, the Kingdom exists even today! It exists in the hearts of people who have been transformed by the power of His Spirit and who, as He says, are “salt and light” in today’s world. They are citizens of another Kingdom, looking in hope to the fulfillment of His promises (and there are many!), while working to make a difference in the world now, and to share the good news that God has a plan and we can be a part of it. Even those who are tortured and killed have this hope. There is no other! All around the world, Christians are helping the suffering, giving them hope, and even many muslims are turning to Christ, as they see the inadequacy and failings of the faith into which they were born.
God will punish evil. In the end, the wicked will receive their retribution in the Lake of Fire spoken of in the Bible. But those who put their hope in Christ and serve in His Kingdom today will receive an eternity of joy and blessing with Him. In the meantime, we can share this hope with others who are suffering and in despair.
If you are interested in knowing more, click on the “Know God” link.