Apr 5, 2007

Gospel Opportunity

How would you answer this question if posed by a non-believer?

Why does God allow bad things to happen?

(I ask because next Wednesday I am going to lunch with a co-worker who was in Vietnam. He is bitter and says that he doesn't understand why God would allow the war to happen, people to die....etc. etc. I told him we should discuss it over coffee and he's actually taking me up on it! But I'm scared and I can't even think of a way to answer the question biblically.)

ps: Could you keep me in your prayers, asking God to grant me wisdom and boldness in speaking the Truth of the Gospel? And that I would do it in a way that shows Christ's love?


Stan said...

I would be the wrong person to ask ... trust me. "Why does God allow bad things to happen?" I can't imagine the question. The real question to me is "Why does God allow good things to happen?"

Job would be another bad one to ask. "So, Job, you had bad things happen to you, and you asked God how He could let them happen to you. What was His answer?" "His answer was, 'Are you sure you want to ask the God of the Universe that question???!!!'"

Paul would likely be the wrong person to ask, too. His idea was that human beings are "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" and God was "willing to demonstrate His wrath and power" on them. Yeah, not a "friendly" answer there, either.

Perhaps Joseph's answer would feel better. "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good." He was saying that even when bad things happen, God has a plan. Yeah, that's nice ... but it doesn't make me feel any better when bad things are happening.

Unfortunately, the question is wrong-headed to start with. We are asking, "How dare God let things happen that I don't approve of??!!" We are not willing to approach it as His Son did: "Not my will, but Thine." And getting that across to a skeptic is tough.

Samantha said...

Well, see, I know all that. And yes, it is tough to get God's sovereignty over mankind across to a skeptic.

But I believe that GOD is amazing and completely capable of opening a skeptic's heart to the Gospel...which means that while I might have a tough job ahead of me, I know that with Christ, all things are possible!

And I know you believe this too! :D

So, any encouragement? :D

Jordan Quinley said...

I was talking with a friend the other day who brought up the point that many Christians may have to alter their view of sin. We tend to think of it as a mistake, as an aberration from the way things were supposed to be, and as something that we (and God) have to deal with. But we must remember that even bad things are a part of God's eternal plan, which He allows to accomplish His purposes and, ultimately, glorify Himself. God has a purpose for all the pain and wrong that occurs.

Naturally, we have a longing for a better world. God will redeem His people and the created order to a perfect, pre-Fall condition. If your friend seeks to escape the consequences of sin and be redeemed, he needs Jesus!

My answer would probably be that God has a purpose and plan in all that happens, good and bad alike. Evil is part of His plan, but is committed by sinful people. He will leave them to the consequences of their actions and punish them, and reveal His glorious justice. He will also save many many people from their wickedness, make them holy and pure, and so reveal His glorious grace. Remind him that God will right all wrongs, but that he has done wrong himself. If he is so eager for God to make things right, is he prepared for what that means for him? He deserves punishment also. But Jesus can save Him from his desert. Then I might present the gospel. Your friend is in danger of hell, but God is mighty to save. Pray for him.

At the end of the day, your co-worker may not be satisfied that God allows bad things on purpose and to bring glory to Himself. He might even be a little appalled. I don't know, but I do know that the natural man is opposed to the truth. But, like you said, God is completely capable of opening the skeptic's heart!

Samantha said...

Amen, Amen Jordan. I love it. Great reminders for myself as well. I've been getting a lot of good feedback from my brethren here and at church. I'm feeling much more confident...not because of myself....because of Christ's work in me.

The wonderful thing is that if God has elected him to salvation, then He might be using me to accomplish His plan. If not, I am positive He will use it for my own sanctification.

Thanks Jordan. :D

I pray that the LORD might give you many blessings on this glorious, wonderful day; The day our sins were forgiven.

Bobby Cohoon said...

I think many times we allow bad things to happen. All bad things come from man's actions in the Garden of Eden.
We have to remember also there is "natural laws" in effect and many times they cause things to happen...weather related events...things like that.

You are in my prayers!


Samantha said...

Thank you for your prayers and your thoughts! Very encouraging to get so much feedback from my brethren!

Nate said...

If you are really interested, I will give you my theory. Just a theory mind you, but If you are interested I will put it out there for you. Not wacky or anything, just not very nice.

Samantha said...

Sure. Go ahead