I feel that this question of “How can a good God, allow bad things to happen?” is asked a lot recently. People looking for answers, and explanation, and a reason to keep on believing. While I do not have great answers or insight into this. I did come across this short thought from Max Lucado and it just struck me as important to share. As we live out our faith, we meet trials and struggles all along the way. It is easy to blame God, ask how or why something happened. As humans, our minds cannot always see the big picture, what’s going on in the “upper story” as my Pastor, Steve Poe often says. The upper story is what God is doing beyond our current comprehension or current circumstances.
Just last week I was heading to speak at my first conference ever. I was nervous, but excited. While on my way there, I received word that my grandfather, a man who I regard as a hero, was suffering a heart attack. How could this be, I remember crying out to God on I-465, demanding that this not be happening.
Here’s what Max Lucado has to say:
“God at times permits tragedies. He permits the ground to grow dry and stalks to grow bare.
He allows Satan to unleash mayhem. But he doesn’t allow Satan to triumph. Isn’t this the promise of Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV)?
God promises to render beauty out of “all things,” not “each thing.” The isolated events may be evil, but the ultimate culmination is good. We see small examples of this in our own lives. When you sip on a cup of coffee and say, “This is good,” what are you saying? The plastic bag that contains the beans is good? The beans themselves are good? Hot water is good? A coffee filter is good? No, none of these. Good happens when the ingredients work together: the bag opened, the beans ground into powder, the water heated to the right temperature. It is the collective cooperation of the elements that creates good.
Nothing in the Bible would cause us to call a famine good or a heart attack good or a terrorist attack good. These are terrible calamities, born out of a fallen earth. Yet every message in the Bible, especially the story of Joseph, compels us to believe that God will mix them with other ingredients and bring good out of them. But we must let God define good. Our definition includes health, comfort, and recognition. His definition? In the case of his Son, Jesus Christ, the good life consisted of struggles, storms, and death. But God worked it all together for the greatest of good: his glory and our salvation.” [/box]
I love the line that says “He doesn’t allow Satan to triumph” I know recently as my faith has been growing, Satan is trying anything he can to have me remove my focus from Jesus. I truly believe that he did not want me speaking to those people, who came to learn how to mix sound better for their worship services. But God used that time on my way to the conference to reset my focus, and ensure that I was relying on him and not myself.
How is Grandpa? He’s fine, there wasn’t any evidence of heart damage from the heart attack. He received a pacemaker and at 88 years old, he is back home enjoying life. God is good.