How Can God Let Bad Things Happen?

I recently had a conversation with a friend who is agnostic. Life has been very difficult for her the last few years. She has an aging mother to care for, a demanding job, and her life always seems to demand more than she can deliver.

As someone who has always “just” known that God exists, it is hard for me to relate to the difficult time that some have in recognizing God’s hand in this globe we inhabit. I know that the destructive acts of man and the gut-wrenching experiences that life sometimes hands out are some of the main reasons that cause some to question God’s existence. I have heard many express how they cannot understand how God could let those things happen if He is truly the loving God that so many of us describe and/or believe in.

I would wonder how a loving God could allow such things too if it weren’t for the fact that I understand that this life is, in a very real way, a school and to remove our ability to make decisions (even bad ones) would negate much of our ability to learn. One of the principal reasons for this “earth school” is to teach us faith, hope and love.

If God were to match each sinister act with an immediate punishment and every good act with an immediate blessing – it would not be long before mankind would figure out how the consequence “thing” worked.  That might sound wonderful but it would completely eliminate our ability to effectively develop faith, hope and love.

In fact, if all consequences were immediate, it would only be a short amount of time before our ability to learn, as God’s plan is designed, would be completely compromised. No longer would we learn or strive to be better because of love, hope, a desire to build faith, or other selfless reasons. Instead, ours would be a world in which we were doing all the right things but for all the wrong reasons.

It would be like reaching the summit of Mount Everest without climbing. That experience void of preparation, challenges, and overcoming those challenges would be no more gratifying than brushing your teeth. No learning process or growth would have been involved.

This life is about personal growth, developing faith, becoming better and making the world around us a better place to be. As we strive to align our wills with God’s will – doing so for the right reasons and not because we have to or because we are being selfishly motivated is what will make our experiences gratifying.

Have you had an experience that developed your faith, taught you about hope or helped you to be more loving? Please share it with me at joannaoblander@mail.com

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