Is it that God doesn’t care? Or is He powerless to stop evil?
Sometimes it’s just hard to live in a sinful world, isn’t it? We see so much pain and suffering, we see so much sorrow and anguish and we feel powerless to stop it. Yes, we try in our own ways, to try and alleviate those burdens as much as we can but there is so much need out there and only so much that we are actually capable of. Even as we see it all and try to come to terms with it, it’s easy to start questioning why God, a merciful God who is so often portrayed as a loving Father, allows this to persist.
God does care. He cares about the burdens and the distress, the torment and the troubles of all of His children. (1 Peter 5:7) He cares so much that He sent His only Son, Christ Jesus, into this world to heal the sick and care for the needy, to magnify the love and exemplify the mercy that comes from the throne of the Most High. In His life, death and resurrection He proved that God was not powerless to stop evil, (John 3:6) as He took captivity captive and rescued us from sin, death and the Devil. What greater expression of God’s undying, unending devotion, compassion and love for us is there as He shows that, in Him, rests the ultimate power?
How then do we reconcile that God with the God that doesn’t stop the murderer from breaking into the home in the middle of the night? How do we reconcile that God with the God who doesn’t stop the genocidal leader from rising to cause so much death and destruction and despair? If He cares that much for the affairs of people why doesn’t He reach down and stop the rapist, the drunk driver, the mass shooter? Where is He in all of this?
Just because God doesn’t reach down and smite the unrighteous doesn’t mean that He isn’t there nor does it mean that He is powerless against it. At present we live in the product of man’s making, not necessarily of God’s making. In that first temptation at the Garden of Eden humanity had a choice, just as it has always had a choice, it could live in perfect submission to God and His nature or it could live in perfect submission to himself and his own nature. We knew good, because God Himself is good. What then could we benefit from eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil except to know evil?
God does not strip from us our will or our ability to make choices because we chose wrong or poorly. Yes, He wanted to spare us from the evil we could sow, but, ultimately, you reap what you sow. Every action is met with a consequence and every consequence with a responsibility to live with the decisions that have been made.
In a sense we are no different than our first father and mother. We live in a world filled with the ability to do good or fall into the temptation of evil. So often so many fall into the trap of doing evil. This is not the doing of God, who has told us how we should live, how we need to live. It is ultimately the doing of the person who made the choice themselves. Undoubtedly this means that evil will occur, and innocent people can get hurt. Yet this happens in spite of God, who taught us how to live to avoid evil, not because of God and some failing, real or perceived on His part.
There is a sense of irony, of course in all of it. Even as God chooses to forgive us of our sins in the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, we choose to hold them against Him, as if somehow He was somehow responsible for them. What we need to remember is that just as surely as the sins of the father do transfer to the child, conversely the sins of the child do not transfer to the Father. Eventually, there comes a point where we have to realize that we are responsible for our own troubles and our sins, and that God, in His wisdom, has given us everything we need to end evil and suffering in a way that understands the nature of us, His creation, if we would just care to abide by it. Yet, since we can’t abide perfectly in the Law, He gives us the Gospel that, in Him, we may find not only a refuge in this sinful world, but also salvation from it.
I hope this helps. All the best in your journey through this world. May you find the answers you are looking for through it.