Looking to God within a fallen world
By Dr. William Holland
One area of the vast unknown that has been the focus of speculation throughout the ages is why certain events happen that seem to be cruel and unfair. As a Christian minister and counselor, I am consistently either thinking, writing or being asked why tragedies happen when there is a God who can easily prevent them. How many times has someone said, “If He is all powerful, then why does He allow terrible things to happen?” This leaves His followers trying to explain what we understand very little about. Actually, the Christian worldview does not have answers to specific situations but there are general reasons why some things happen. Matthew 5:45 mentions that nature does not discriminate between good and bad or the atheist and the believer. Suffering can come to anyone and anytime without moral cause. There are several reasons why we are vulnerable to tragedy but we only have time to observe a couple. First, we are mortal and very vulnerable against an environment that is filled with danger and death. In the beginning, God established this world with natural laws in mankind’s best interest but these laws can also cause us much harm. For example, fire can be a wonderful way to cook our food and generate heat to keep us warm but it can also be a destructive and devastating force. Likewise, gravity is a blessing as it keeps everything in place but if we are skydiving and our parachute does not open, there will be tragic consequences. On the sixth day of creation, God said that everything was perfect and beautiful which many believe included a disease-free atmosphere without sickness, genetic defects or any other type of fear or danger. However, when Adam and Eve sinned against God and was cast out of the Garden of Eden, according to the Bible most everything changed. Unfortunately, physical and spiritual death became a part of our vocabulary.
My son and his wife are dog lovers and last year they chose to put two of their dogs down because of advanced cancer and of course they were very upset. About 6 months ago they purchased an adorable puppy and she was such a loving and strikingly beautiful dog. This past week, they let her out in the backyard like usual and about a half-hour later called for her to come in. My son started searching and thought that maybe she had escaped. You can imagine the horror when he stepped up onto the deck of their pool and saw her resting on the bottom. He dove in and retrieved her but it was too late. The gates on the deck were locked and security cameras revealed that she had made an incredible leap into the pool from the yard. We’ve all made terrible judgments and this mistake became a tragic accident. They are devastated and in this time of being heart-broken again, it was mentioned about why God did not stop this from happening. What can we say? Without being disrespectful, there are many times in our journey when the sovereignty of the Almighty seems to not make sense.
There are events and situations when miracles happen and we are convinced that God stepped into the situation. Then there are other times when crazy things occur that could have easily been prevented. We know that God is watching and is all-powerful but occasionally He decides to not intervene. Why? It’s all a part of His perfect will, and for us to maintain a healthy spiritual attitude we are called to bow before Him in faith and submit as Jesus prayed in the garden, “not my will, but thine be done.” As we are also reminded of the old saying, “we will not understand until we get to the other side” but this hardly helps in our time of sorrow. The second reason why bad things happen is called free-will and we can agree the most dangerous gift that God ever gave was our ability to choose. Like the puppy who made a bad decision to jump in the pool, a large part of suffering can be and often is self-inflicted. Reaping and sowing is associated with conditions and consequences and somewhere in the mix, we do the best we can and trust Him in everything.
Dr. Holland is a Christian author, outreach minister and community chaplain. Learn more at billyhollandministries.com