Discover God’s True Nature
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God,” says Paul, adding, “sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Romans 11:22
If you had an opportunity to ask God just one question, what would it be? Would you ask how old the universe really is—a question that would put to rest once and for all the debate about the age of the Earth? Possibly. Or would you ask a theological question—say, about free will versus the sovereign will of God?
Some would ask questions such as I’ve just speculated, but I suspect your question would be something more like one of these: “God, why can’t I have a baby which I desperately want when others abort children they don’t want?” Or, “God, why was the life of my son cut short?”
The same week we said “Good-bye for now” to my father-in-law, who was almost 89 years of age, a young friend, 24, having been married for just four weeks, was senselessly murdered by a man he was trying to help. Joel England had saved money and bought a little house, purposely renting it to an underprivileged family, striving to live out the love of Christ and in his way do something to bring about racial reconciliation.
As the result of a bizarre set of circumstances, much too complex to describe here, he was murdered. Why, God? Why does a young man having recently graduated from Moody Bible Institute and having married his sweetheart, and preparing for a life of Christian service, have his life tragically cut short?
While good may come of evil, there are some questions in life which will never be answered this side of eternity. So what do you do? Grow angry and blame God for the sinful reaction of a man out of control? Or someway, somehow, find the grace of God to pick up the pieces and go on, realizing that should God reveal the answer to the “Why?” we still couldn’t understand.
There are a lot of things we don’t understand. When we are confronted with evil, no matter how it comes, we are shocked and reminded that ours is a sinful, broken world, and the consequences of this disharmony touch the lives of both the just and the unjust, the good and the evil, the young as well as the old.
Long ago David cried out, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2). When his strength was failing, my father-in-law, Guy Duffield, would often quote the words of Connie Libbey, who wrote, “Sometimes on the Rock I tremble, / Faint of heart and weak of knee, / But the steadfast Rock of Ages, / Never trembles under me.”
When your heart cries out, “Why?” strive to remember three simple guidelines:
Remember that God’s nature is loving and kind—not harsh and capricious. Kindness is often misjudged as weakness. “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God,” says Paul, adding, “sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness” (Romans 11:22). God has his payday; someday he will right the wrongs and even the score with evildoers.
You must also remember that God is sovereign. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah of old struggled with this very issue and concluded: “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8).
Finally, strive to remember that God cares what happens to His children. Nothing escapes His sight. Your tears and cries are never ignored. When darkness seems to surround your life, realize God, too, experienced this as His Son faced death at Calvary. And someday you will have an answer to that question of “Why?”
Resource reading: Habakkuk 1:1-17