Some horrible things happened in Florida last week. Horrible.
Forty-nine dead, plus the shooter, and fifty-three injured. And who will ever forget that horrific ordeal of the alligator and the little boy?
So where was God?
Let’s face it. There’s a lot of really bad stuff in the world. Last week, it seemed to be concentrated in Orlando. But not really. Right now, civilians in Fallujah are trapped in their own city and facing roaming death squads of ISIS combatants. So far this year, 283 people have been murdered in Chicago. That’s just in Chicago, and that’s just so far this year. There was a concentration of the evil one’s work in the Orlando area last week, but those horrible things are happening every day around the world. The earth is filled with terrible acts and tragedy.
Is God ok with all this? If not, why doesn’t he do something?
God certainly could have made a world where everything happens exactly the way he wants them to happen. He is sovereign. So he could dictate every minute detail in the happenings of the world, and play us like a giant video game. But then we would be video game pieces and not human. The only two possibilities of worlds that God could create would be either world where there are no moral creatures and therefore, no freedom of will or ability to make choices; or a world where some creatures do have real choices and those choices have consequences.
Because God desired to create a world where he could enjoy reciprocal loving relationships with the people he made, this demanded that they also have the freedom to choose to respond to him in love or reject him. It’s the only way there could be a genuine relationship. We learn from the Scriptures that all of humanity has turned away from God. And while tragedies that we face are not usually the direct result of our own specific sins, the fallen world that we live in, now filled with violence, hatred and natural disasters, is the result of the loss of our connection with God, the aftermath of sin entering the world.
You are probably familiar with the Genesis story of Adam and Eve. They were given the domain of the earth and told to rule over it. When they rejected God’s authority, they turned their rule over to God’s enemy, Satan. When sin came, this world went to the evil one’s jurisdiction, and corruption over all of creation ensued. That’s why Jesus referred to Satan as “the god of this world.”
The Lord does not leave us alone in it, however. He promised to be present with us and to walk with us through our greatest tragedies. But our promise of deliverance will be realized in the next world, not in this one.
So, where is God in this? Remember, evil is best defined by what is left over when God is not there. This is a world that is under the devil’s domain. God does intervene on rare occasions, but out of respect for human choice, he has allowed the corruption of sin to work its way out to its logical conclusion. The problems of this world is what we have as a result.
If we will look to him in the middle of it, he would love to reveal himself to us.