I am feeling a little philosophical today, this happens to me once in a while. I sometimes come out the other side, other times I get stuck. If you're like me you are quick to admit that not everything in life is easy to understand!
Do you wonder how God can allow so much evil and destruction in the world? When you face challenges in your own life do you wonder if God is there? Is there a reason things happen the way they do? Are you being cared for?
It is important to understand that God doesn't punish people. God doesn't bring evil to anyone. God doesn't hurt people. The story goes that a family lost a child in a terrible accident. Two church leaders came to their door to offer their condolences. They said that they felt great pain for the family, but they also added, "This was God's will," and that, "we don't always understand why God does what God does, but we must accept God's will." What a terrible thing to say! I've heard stories where this has happened to people, unfortunately more times than I can count. I don't know where this idea came from. I'm sure it didn't come from God.
The idea that it is God's will that bad things happen to people is not only misguided but potentially devastating. The New Church teaches that God wills only good for all His people. There is nothing more important to our Creator than for every one of us to have as much happiness and fulfillment as humanly possible. When bad things happen they are a result of our poor decisions or the inherent sinfulness of humanity. God feels our pain, is very present with us, and works to bring out the best in a bad situation.
What we must remember is that God takes the long view. His goal is not to give us temporary and perhaps superficial comfort in this world, but rather looks to our eternal welfare. God will bring good out of everything if we let Him. Charles Stanley says [paraphrased], it is impossible to see God's providence in the face as it is happening, but that we can see it when we look back in reflection on the past. In other words, in times of crisis it is very hard to necessarily sense that God is present and working to bring good out of a bad situation. However, when we look back at such times we can often see the gentle hand of God at work.
Look at the horrible act of terrorism we have endured these past few years, something so far from God's will and even more horrible to be committed in God's name. However, the love and charity that poured out of all people following 9/11, was astounding!
The cynics say that this was temporary, but didn't a part of us change forever? God didn't make this event happen or will it, but God didn't abandon us. God was there in a huge way, working through the same human freedom and choice He gave those terrorists, but now the choice of thousands was love and compassion, and a resolve to rid the world of such hideous efforts.
In times of tragedy we may not be able to see immediately that God is there, leading us to peace and comfort, and so much more. However, I can encourage you that we can rest assured that God provides constantly that the choice for good is always present. The real question is can we trust this? Can we find the good in the situations around us, even when they look bad? Bad things do happen; these events are connected with the fall of man, the bad choice we will make. God has provided an eternal remedy for evil, which is the cross. I encourage you to not fixate on the bad, but trust in Jesus!
1 Peter 1:6-7 says in this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.