Does God Let Bad Things Happen?

bad things

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia. Established in 1561.

This question has caused more Christians to stumble than nearly any other. So why would a loving deity allow any hardship at all to befall his adoring worshipers? Does God let bad things happen? As with most quandaries, the answer is never as simple as the question.

Adults are more like children today than they ever have been. Everything is taken personally, intensely, and irrationally. We can’t express emotion in church, but we scream, hyperventilate, panic, and display extreme fanaticism at the first celebrity sighting or sports event. We can’t donate to worthy causes, but we can throw money away on entertainment.

Far too many of us have spiritual lives that are just as inconsistent. We want a relationship with God, without a relationship. God is just supposed to make himself invisible until we’re ready to talk to him. We can’t mention him to friends, family, or acquaintances because they might think something we don’t want.

We want to know all about him, so long as we don’t have to read his word. We want to display our morality without having morals. God should conform to what we consider polite, or politically correct.

We are hardly “adoring worshippers.” We are fair-weather friends who ignore God during times of prosperity, but desperately look for him at the first sign of trouble. Too many Christians believe God will take away the consequences of their own choices and bad decisions, and if he doesn’t, they’ll just get miffed at him or stop believing in him. That’s called “pouting.”

We discuss the beauty, majesty, regality, and tranquility of nature, but blame God for her temper. Because of this mind-set, people believe God should grant wishes. He should completely alter the world he’s created to accommodate what we want. He should stop the weather, stop the clock, and perform astounding feats that ensure no one suffers for anything. In short, humans want heaven on earth. They want a place free of poverty, disease, disaster, decay, and any other negative. Scripture is very clear that life here on earth will not be heaven.

In reality, we live in a universally unfair world. In order to create a survivable atmosphere and environments where humans and animals can survive, it must be exactly as it is. The food chain must be in place. We are in flesh, the same as animals, and we suffer from disease, just like animals. The weakest are most likely to suffer in the human world, just as in the animal world. Such an environment also requires changing weather systems. That system entails natural fluctuations, including extreme changes. So, essentially, the complaint is that our world is inhabitable and livable. God indeed created the planet for us to survive.

The only items commonly ascribed to God are horrible. Miracles are attributed to modern medicine, modern science, or some other third party. When wonderful things happen in the workplace, it’s attributed to the individual. Peace is the product of diplomacy and mutual commitment. Prosperity is the product of sound financial policies.

So, yes, God allows the world to continue and for that, humanity should be thankful.

 Scripture:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” -Isaiah 43:2

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” -Psalm 91:11

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” -Joshua 1:5