This has been one of the biggest things on my heart as of late. If we serve a good God, than why are we in a bad world? And why do bad things happen to "good people"?
Most Christians will give you a pretty quick answer, "Humans have free will," or, "we live in a fallen world." However, can it be that simple? We have no problem saying, "God is sovereign." Yet, we also believe we have complete free will. I've heard many say, "In God's sovereignty, He allows us free will." But, if this is the case - when push comes to shove, what happens? Does our free will win? Or does God win? This debate has many people on 'sides' (Calvinism vs. Arminianism). But, the reality is this: God is the ultimate puzzle that even the brightest mind cannot solve.
What about this? Put yourself in some serious shoes. Is God still good when you miscarry your first child? Is God still good when your spouse of 20 years leaves you? Is God still good when your mother dies in a car crash at 45? Is God still good when you get fired from your job? There are even worse things than this. How can God still be good in the midst of adversity? Every single Christian will be challenged in their faith at some point, more likely, multiple times. How do we teach our youth and new believers today how to respond in the midst of these doubts? My frustration is that most Christians today only are willing to go surface level on this topic - but our young people need this question answered to help ensure when they too are tested, they will not fall away. I look to a man named Job.
Then God's response to Job in chapter 38:4-5, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know!" To me, God is (essentially) flexing on Job. But isn't that the reality in this fickle debate? We truly cannot explain our God? I love something Job says in chapter 13:15, "Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him." How great is Job's faith to say this in his turmoil? Obviously his faith is tested greatly as he also shows doubt and anger with God, but surely everyone should be impressed with Job's response. God of the good and God of the bad, right?
Every single time my faith in God is challenged, it is not a time to doubt who God is - but an opportunity to learn more about Him. Over the past 3 years I have went through various trials which challenged my way of thinking and even my belief in who/what God is. Thankfully, through prayer and petition, each time I was shown what God was teaching me in these hardships. Did I like it? Certainly not! Did I begin to understand more and more how God works? Absolutely! God is beyond my comprehension but my desire to know Him more will never cease. I've begun to understand the fear of the Lord (please note, this is often misunderstood) and also his upmost love and jealousy for me. God wants me more than anyone else ever could. His desire for me and my walk is far beyond my earthly understanding. Should I stray to the left or to the right, He will be ready to guide me back to His path - no matter the pain that may come.
James 1:2-5 writes, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
My challenge to you is to test your understanding of God. Would you still follow Him in the worst of situations? Would you fall away? Would you give up? What if your kids disowned you and hated your existence? What then would happen? My hope and prayer is nothing befall you that negatively impacts your life. However, the possibility of it happening are greater than you think. Continually pursue a relationship with God and to understand His complexities more.
Do the ends always justify the means? Will your walk with God rely on a "good life" or the continued revelation of Him? Purposefully, I choose to withhold my personal opinion. Think on it.