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It’s a fair question.  We hear the statement all the time, and sometimes don’t even stop to think about it.  “Sure, sure,” we think to ourselves and quickly move on to the next thought.  And maybe those thoughts lead to a consideration of all the evil in the world, or our own suffering or injustice.  If our minds are still aimed at God, well, now what do we do?

I was sitting around a dining table last night and found myself in such a discussion.  At first I was just listening, but I was so drawn into the conversation that I soon began asking questions myself – and being asked more in return.  It was very challenging, to say the least, and time well spent.  I now feel I have a clearer understand of why I personally believe God is good.

There are a couple of answers we typically hear.  It’s very disconcerting to not have an answer for something, so we try our very hardest to make sense of something that just doesn’t.  The problem is, neither is comforting to the hearer.  If you’ve just lost your child or your job or your home, or if you’ve just been unfairly accused, it is of little value to hear that God caused it and will bring good out of it.  I don’t even believe that’s true.  Neither is it helpful to think that He merely allowed it.  That, in my way of thinking, makes Him out to be either impotent or uncaring or He just wasn’t paying attention.

And yet we say He’s good.

So what’s the answer?  I don’t pretend to know it, but here’s what I do believe:  God is good, and there is evil and injustice and pain and heartache in the world.  Both are true.

Of course this begs the question, why do I believe God is good?  For me, it is not just a matter of faith, or because the Bible says so or because anyone else says so.  I think human beings inherently know what good is, and we have found it to be the way the world should be.  I don’t see that to be the case with evil.  We don’t see that as right.  In fact, we try to fix it, or if we can’t we despair because we see no hope of the world or our circumstances being made right.  So we believe evil to be a perversion of good — never the other way around.  We don’t believe good is a perversion of evil, and that evil is the norm.

In my last post I tried to make the point that God is the Creator, the Originator of all that is.  Believing that to be the case, I have to look at Him as good, because we believe life to be good.  Our experience of it is not always good, and I don’t mean to minimize the pain we all feel or gloss over the problems in the world with a flippant platitude.  But because we know what it should be, we know that is what it was created to be.  And a good creation comes from a good creator.

I hope I have made my point.  These thoughts are new to me and I am not confident in my communication of them.  But I am absolutely convinced of their truth.

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There are a few who would argue with my position that everyone loves life.  I hear them say, “I hate my life,” or, “Life sucks.”  That doesn’t sound like a love of life, does it?

But we all have a survival instinct.  We want to live.  And the fact that we know our circumstances are not good indicates that we know there is something better.  That something better is life.  And that’s what we’re after.  Real life.

So I suppose it’s really a question of evil and pain and where it all comes from.  The big answer is that we live in a spoiled universe, and that things are not as God intended.  They will be again someday, but we live in the here and now.  I heard of a question that a grieving mother posed to God in the height of her pain after the death of her young son.  She asked what any of us would ask:  “God, where were you when my son died?”  She believed God could have prevented it, and she was right.  But instead she was dealt the loss of one dear to her.  Then, in her heart of hearts, she heard an inaudible voice answer, “Right where I was when My Son died.”

You see, God doesn’t change, He doesn’t move, and His love and power don’t fluctuate.  He grieves with us.  He offers solace.  He offers a better life.  He challenges us, encourages us, and partners with us.

Sometimes the thing we aim for is not the thing we achieve.  Sometimes our target is wrong.  “I just want to be happy.”  So I try this or that, and strive to get people to do what I want to make me happy.  There!  That should do it.  Right?  Oh, wait.  That wasn’t it.    So I try something else.  It lasts for awhile…

But what if I forget about myself and aim for something entirely different?  What if I try to make someone else happy instead?  It’s kind of a “cast your bread upon the waters” thing.  Maybe that’s where I find life.  Perhaps I was looking in the wrong place.  (If you voted for this answer, you passed the course.  Well done!)

But back to the “He offers a better life” part.  If her son is still dead, how is that better?  The answer, I believe, is in the hope.  Not in the hope of his return to this earth, but in the hope that comes from trusting the One who holds all things, despite the rottenness that we live in.  We hope for better and it will happen, some of it later, but some of it now.

The Bible talks about the whole creation “groaning” for the restoration of all things.  All things.  That’s not just people, but this whole planet, at least.  God’s going to make it all better.  He’s going to return it to its original condition as when He first made it, the way it was before death and ugliness entered in.  And for now, the place where we live today, He really does walk through it with us.  That’s my hope, and it’s been my life.


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