“Where is God When People Suffer?”

Yesterday, I found this on my Pinterest feed:

Wow. Why did You let me see that, Father?

The gist of the comment section was “if there is a God, then why war, greed, violence, etc.?” As a believer, this is one of the easiest questions for me to answer–and the hardest one for non-believers to absorb. I don’t usually write comments on Pinterest, but this one got me heated, because everybody was so satisfied with being wrong, and no one was addressing the real issue.

My original comment went as follows:

Ms Chantal: “I love how atheists and other non-believers pull this out of their hats when human beings with FREE WILL do bad things. Humans have perfected war, greed, violence, etc all on their own, with no help from God. Humans have kicked God out of schools, workplaces, courts, and 90% of the media. How is it God’s fault when human-based horror happens? You don’t want to be robots, but you don’t want to take responsibility, either. You can’t have it both ways.”

Naturally, someone–a young lady–responded to this:

S**** : “No offense ma’am, but I remember being in a Christian school and being raised with God as everything to us, not family and not health, it was all God. Still, God has not reached out and helped us, when my friends were abused by the pastors or hurt by their own parents. I remember praying to God everynight to stop my step father, and it never happened. I respect your opinion, but God has failed so many of us that we simply stopped believing”

Okay….now we’re getting someplace! I felt compelled to respond, not just because the gauntlet had been thrown down, but also because God gave me a rare opportunity to represent Him. This actually reminded me of a scene from The Santa Clause, but I didn’t want to be glib or condescending about the situation. I also didn’t want to make it about how her parents might have raised her a little on the extreme side; that wasn’t my business. I wanted to make this about her, to let her know that I could relate.

The problem was that I responded to her comment twice. I have no idea where it went, but it didn’t go live either time. I wrote it a third time and then copied and pasted it to my original comment, which I’m allowed to edit. It went live, but when I went back today, my copy-and-paste was gone. I don’t believe in coincidence, so for the sake of this post, I’ll just say that “Pinterest” did not want my response on record.

That’s okay, “Pinterest”. You cannot silence a determined minister.

This is my response that S**** never got to see. I’ve elaborated on my points because I have the space to do so. I pray that it helps others in the same frame of mind.

I understand where you are. You’re not the first person to say “I believed in Him until I asked for a big thing and didn’t get it, so now, I don’t believe!”

I’ve been there. Many times. In the past 2 years, I have wondered what God could possibly have been thinking to allow this blasphemy of an administration to happen. Then He reminded me of a mind-blowing truth in the form of a question.

Is God only God when He’s good to you? When He gives you whatever you want? When He answers your prayers and makes life wonderful? Is that the only kind of interaction that you want with the Creator of the Universe? That would make God nothing more than your personal genie, and that was never the relationship that He wanted to have with humanity. He wants to be your Father, and sometimes a Father says “No”. Sometimes, a Parent makes decisions that you don’t understand, and you have to trust Him in spite of what you see.

These are dark, scary times. I don’t pretend to understand it all. What I know from experience is that God is a Gentleman who does not force His will on you. If you tell Him to get out of your schools, your courts, your workplaces, your home, your children, and your everyday life, He’s going to back off. America has kicked God out of the equation. I believe that He was never really invited into this white supremacist country, but that’s for another post.

Consequently, you don’t get to blame God when humans who have turned their backs on Him do horrible things. God gave us the power to choose for ourselves between good and evil. He gave us the ability to help or to hurt other people. Why is it His fault when humans make bad choices?

God did not create the mess in this world. Humans did that.

God did not elect 45. Stupid humans did that.

God did not molest, abuse, or cage a single child. Evil humans did that.

God did not fail. Humanity did that.

Here’s an idea: why don’t we humans take responsibility for what our action and inaction produces? Why don’t we stop expecting God to swoop in on a cloud to clean up what WE messed up? If you don’t want to be a “mindless automaton blindly believing in a faceless God”, be my guest. Then own humanity’s mess and get to fixing it. Focus on making this world better, not on being bitter.

God will come to anyone who invites Him into their lives. I have allowed God to run every part of my life, even the parts that aren’t so God-like. It has made for some interesting conversations with Him.

I still get mad and shake my fist at Him. In fact, I’ve had some pretty ugly arguments with God in the past seven years. He gave me free will, so I’m pretty sure that He can handle my attitude. He has thrown me some major curve balls, but He has never failed me. And no one in Hell or on earth can make me doubt Him.

Where is God when people suffer? Where He’s always been. I’ve seen too much of Him to doubt His existence. If you don’t sense His presence, then maybe you’re the one who’s too far away.

I’d rather focus my energy on resisting evil than on blaming God for it. God has not forgotten or forsaken us. Maybe He’s hanging back to see how WE handle evil in the 21st century. I choose to join with people who actively help other people, regardless of what they believe. Because we seriously need to outnumber evil right now.

Who is on the Lord’s side? Let them stand with me.

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