I wish I were a ladybug.

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Why do bad things happen to good people?"

I know, heavy topic. A few years ago when I was a junior in college, a friend and I were having a discussion about my "faith". She didn't understand what I meant when I said I was a "Christian" and that to me being a Christian meant nothing about religion but about the relationship I have. We then proceeded into a pretty deep conversation about God, Jesus and the world we live in. I have often replayed in my head the question she asked me that day. She said, "If the God you believe in is so good, then why did He let the Tsunami (of 2005) happen and as a result kill 1,000's of innocent people?" All I simply said at the time was that we have to remember that with the good in the world comes the bad. I wondered why so many people automatically blame God. I figured if someone believes in a God to blame then they must also believe in the opposite, which is evil, or Satan. I thought, doesn't it then make perfect sense that the evil in the world is capable of killing 1,000's of people? I know that's a lot harder to understand when we are talking about nature. Which I suppose is why most people blame God. But even a death to someone you love, or a heart wrenching experience that you feel you can't overcome, God still gets a lot of that blame too. I told my friend that what I was sharing with her was merely based on what I felt in my heart, but that, who was I to try and prove this belief of mine? And honestly, I didn't know where on earth to go from there.

I'm reading The Shack right now by William P. Young. It's a fictional book that is nothing short of amazing. It touches on the question my friend asked me. As it says on the back of the book, "In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, 'Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?'" It has become my new bathtub and bedtime read. There are so many quotable chapters in the book, but the one I read this morning really stuck with me. I want to share it - and I'll try and shorten it and take out the narration parts. It's important to note that the book is a fictional piece. It is about a man's personal experience with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit after experiencing one of the most tragic events one could go through. I won't go into further details in case you want to read it. And I do hope you get a chance to read it.

Mack, the main character, ask's God a series of questions about evil in our world and if God uses pain to try and force people back to Him or as punishment. God tells Mack how sad He is people even comprehend He could be that way. He says, "I understand how difficult it is for you, so lost in your perceptions of reality and yet so sure of your own judgments, to even begin to perceive, let alone imagine, who real love and goodness are. True love never forces." Mack then proceeds to say, "But, if I understand what you're saying, the consequences of our selfishness are part of the process that brings us to the end of our delusions, and helps us find you. Is that why you don't stop every evil?"

God responds...
"Nobody knows the horrors I have saved from the world because people can't see what never happened. All evil flows from independence, and independence is your choice. If I were to simply revoke all the choices of independence, the world as you know it would cease to exist and love would have no meaning. This world is not a playground where I keep all my children free from evil. Evil is the chaos of this age that you brought to me, but it will not have the final say. Now it touches everyone that I love, those who follow me and those who don't. If I take away the consequences of people's choices, I destroy the possibility of love. Love that is forced is no love at all. - Let me tell you one of the reasons that this makes no sense to you. You and this Creation are incredible, whether you understand that or not. You are wonderful beyond imagination. Just because you make horrendous and destructive choices does not mean you deserve less respect for what you inherently are; the pinnacle of my Creation and the center of my affection. Also, don't forget that in the middle of all your pain and heartache, you are surrounded by beauty, the wonder of Creation, art, your music and culture, the sounds of laughter and love, of whispered hopes and celebrations, of new life and transformation, of reconciliation and forgiveness. These also are the results of your choices and every choice matters, even the hidden ones. So whose choices should we countermand? Perhaps I should never have created? Perhaps Adam should have been stopped before he chose independence? What about your choice to have another daughter, or your father's choice to beat his son? You demand your independence, but then complain that I actually love you enough to give it to you. My purposes are always and only an expression of love. I purpose to work life out of death, to bring freedom out of brokenness and turn darkness into light. What you see is chaos, I see as a fractal. All things must unfold, even thought it puts all those I love in the midst of a world of horrible tragedies, even the one closest to Me." He means Jesus. :o)

This was on my heart and I wanted to share it with whoever (whomever?...hmm. no, I think it's whoever) is interested. I hope everyone has an amazing weekend. God Bless!!

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