Category: Faith

Witness Well

Since God is loving and in control of all things, why does he allow bad things to happen?

Questions like these become very difficult, especially when they can become so personal. How does one comfort a grieving mother with the words “God is in control” when she has just lost a young daughter in a car crash?  You can’t. 

We can only offer words based on the faith and hope that all will be resolved and understood when we get to heaven. 

We must remember first that we are all sinful people who live in a sinful world. So much pain and suffering is a result of our sinful behavior. Political strife often causes famine. Economics create unsafe living conditions and even faulty equipment.  Idealism spawns fanaticism and acts of evil terror. Alcohol or drug abuse can cause fatal accidents. A tumultuous world brings pain and suffering into our lives. 

The Bible also indicates that our world contains a spiritual realm made up of angels and demons. These evil spiritual forces are in a state of war against God and everything good. Our earth is the battlefield. This “problem of evil” has a direct influence on everything. All people, including Christians, are potential victims. Like Job in the Old Testament, we become innocent casualties of a spiritual war by getting caught in a cross-fire of good and evil. We don’t know exactly how these forces work. We do know, however, that God preserves and protects us according to his will, because God is stronger than evil. He has already conquered evil and the victory is ours who call upon his name.

God, who is in control of the universe, works out all things (even evil) for their own good. We are not called upon to understand the wisdom of God, but simply accept circumstances in our lives like a small child and simply place our trust in our Heavenly Father.  

** This question and answer was inspired from the book, “Letters from a Skeptic” by Dr. Gregory A Boyd and Edward K. Boyd, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1994.

Why doesn’t God get rid of sin and only create good people?

The Bible unquestionably states that God knows all things. He knows the beginning and the end. He is omniscient. He knows everything there is to know, including our past and our future. Yet, the question persists, “Why does God still create humans who turn out evil and do evil things?” 

To tackle this difficult question, we need to go back to our original foundation of using God’s Word to construct our answer, since our human minds simply cannot comprehend on its own the wisdom of God. Let’s start by remembering that evil (sin) entered into the world through Adam, the first man. This is very important because we have now inherited a sinful nature from this one act of disobedience. Without Christ in our lives, all we can do and hope to do is sin. By nature, we are all anti-God. In fact, even people whom we respect and adore the most on earth have the capacity to do the greatest type of evil. 

So, why does God allow this world to continue in its present sinful condition?

Once again, the answer is love. It is God’s utmost desire for all people to come into a personal relationship of trust and faith in him. His awesome love for us can never be held in greater display than the sacrifice of his one and only son. Jesus became our substitute on the cross so we may be proclaimed sinless before God. It took the sacrifice of his Son to bring all sinners, including you and me, back home to him. Yes, our sins cause bad things to happen. Some worse than others. Since God is omniscient, he can use instances of evil for his good purpose.

In the New Testament parable of the weeds and the wheat, Jesus tells us that evil will be planted among the good and it is not up to us to pass judgment. Why? Because we are all weeds. It is only God who can transform us to be wheat. Most will reject Him and God allows this to happen, but he alone will make the final judgment. 

The question before us is simple: Is Jesus Lord of our lives or is he not?  Faith alone causes us to believe and accept God’s love for us.   

** This question and answer was inspired from the book, “Letters from a Skeptic” by Dr. Gregory A Boyd and Edward K. Boyd, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1994.

  

If God created humans with the capacity for doing evil, was it worth the risk?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yorktone/11223428356/

We all know from experience that love hurts. Death, rejection and rebellion can deeply hurt our hearts to its very core. A person could say that if a person never loved, they would never suffer.Yet, if a person never loved, they would never live. 

There is always an element of risk to love. With hopeful hearts, we step out in love, recognizing the risks. The future potential of love returned drives us in determining the risk worthwhile. 

God created the world out of love. He took the “risk” because he created us out of perfect love. Tragically, human history continually withdraws and turns its back on God. In the Old Testament book of Hosea, God portrays himself as one who is married to, and deeply in love with a wife who is repeatedly unfaithful to him. Though rejected, God still calls his people, his bride, back to having a faithful relationship with him. There lies the problem. Sin and disobedience has transformed perfection into evil. Imperfection has separated us from God and our world is suffering from its consequences.   

God’s creation of the world was “risky” in that it involved him becoming human flesh and dying a horrible death on the cross. He loved the world so much that he was willing to take upon himself all the pain, rejection and the consequences sin produces so that we may receive an eternal relationship with him. Jesus died on the cross so humans could live eternally in the peace and joy of God (heaven). The promise given to us in Scripture is that heaven will be such a place that our present sufferings can never be compared to it. We must remember that we are mortal. 

Our life on earth does not last forever.  If there is no heaven, then all the sufferings, tears, and cries of the anguished will go unanswered. All the hopes, longings and struggles would come to nothing. In other words, the promise of heaven, made possible through Christ, makes all the sufferings in life worth it. 

** This question and answer was inspired from the book, “Letters from a Skeptic” by Dr. Gregory A Boyd and Edward K. Boyd, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1994.

Unexpected gifts that bring God the most pleasure

I just got home from Wal-Mart where my wife and I bought a new 18-speed bicycle for my daughter.

How to Cure the Common Slice

It was my daughter’s seventh birthday. I wondered what I could get her for a present. Maybe we could do something together. Something special.

I love to play golf. Due to lack of time and resources, I seldom play anymore. A favorite family activity is to set up a course around our house and play golf using a plastic golf ball. My daughter would be my caddie and carry my seven iron for me. In the evening, I would ask her, “What did you enjoy the most about today.” She immediately replied, “Being your caddy!”

On her seventh birthday, I gave her the invitation to be my caddy for nine holes at a nearby golf course.

The day arrived and you could tell my daughter excited.

We arrived at the course on a late October afternoon. I knew very few people would be on the course. After a few practice putts, we marched to the tee with great anticipation. I showed her how to place a golf tee into the grass and how to use a ball cleaner. After the first shot, we walked down the hole hand in hand while pulling the two-wheeled golf cart behind us.

There was a profound gladness in sharing this moment with my young daughter. Just me and her. Enjoying something that I dearly love. Sharing in something together.

Now, being a caddy does take some effort and concentration. She enjoyed pulling the pin out of the hole, handing me my putter, raking the bunker and writing my score on the scorecard. Sometimes, she needed some gentle reminding. “Sweetheart, don’t chase the seagulls.” “Honey, don’t walk through the sand trap.”  “Sweetheart, don’t roll down the hill into the bunker.”

Upon reaching the eighth hole, my ball nestled deep into the greenside rough. It was too much for a seven year old to resist. My daughter decided to lie down spread eagle on the soft, cool grass only a few feet from the ball. With a smile and extra concentration, I somehow managed to chip the ball onto the green.

It truly did not matter at all to my young daughter whether I double-bogeyed or birdied, hit the ball into the water or a few feet from the pin. What seemed to matter most to her was simply being with her father.

It occurred to me that I received another example of the relationship we have with God. We were not created to be human “doings”, but human “beings.” It does not nearly matter as much to God, our Father, about how or what we are doing.  What matters the most is being with Him and Him in us. By faith, we can come to God, “Abba” or “Daddy”, and be with Him — simply basking in His presence.

While the sun settled down in the west, creating an orange glow on the last fairway, my daughter and I strolled toward my ball that was sliced onto another fairway. She grasped my gloved hand, put her head on my arm and said, “Daddy, I love you!”  “I love you too, sweetheart.”

With an insurgent swelling of peace and love, the sin of my slice was quickly forgiven and forgotten. Because I knew who I love and who loved me. Nothing else really mattered.

October 10, 2003