You may have heard this or even said it yourself. “If God is so loving, then why does He allow suffering in the world? Or why did this person or that person have to die? If He loves me, then why is this happening to me?”
First, God is a parent…
When I was young, my parents had a thing about doors slamming. We had a screen door that you had to hold, or it would slam.
Much of the time, we were so excited to go outside and play, and in our haste, we’d forget and let the door slam.
Let me tell you about a time that door got me in trouble.
I’m going toward the back door, my mom’s in the kitchen. And my little brother ran out the back door and let it slam.
I had no idea where my dad was, but all I know is that he saw me outside. My brother was gone, so my dad thought I let the door slam.
He called me inside. Here we go…I’m in trouble and I didn’t even do anything.
Our back door was near the basement stairs. Knowing that I would not be able to plead my case, I went in the door and ran into the basement.
I don’t know about your house, but in my house, you don’t run from my dad. But I did that day. We had a large, round furnace in the basement.
So, imagine my father chasing me around the furnace. I can see it like a movie. I was not going to get a spanking because I didn’t do anything. I’d see him and I would run the opposite way.
In the meantime, my mother was still in the kitchen. She was calling my father in her usual soft tone, “Michael, Michael.” But he wasn’t listening.
Suddenly, he caught me. Now, I wasn’t just getting a spanking because the door slammed, but because I ran from him.
[All of you that are allergic to discipline, and that’s never happened to you, or you would never do that to your children—just listen.]
Long story short. My mom knew it was my brother that slammed that door but didn’t speak up fast enough or loud enough to tell my dad it wasn’t me.
By the time my dad found out what happened, it was too late. I was hurt. I’m sure he apologized, but in my mind the damage was already done.
I was mad at him for assuming it was me, and I was mad at my mom for not speaking up earlier. I was also mad at my brother because he was out having a good time.
Of course, today we laugh about it.
Second, God is a disciplinarian.
Discipline is a sign of love.
My parents had it wrong that day, but plenty of other times they were right.
Proverbs 13:24 ESV says,
“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
So back to our question. If God is so loving, then why [fill in the blank]?
My parents weren’t omnipresent, or present in all places at all times, but God is.
My parents weren’t omniscient, or all knowing, but God is.
And my dad was not omnipotent, or all powerful. Although it often felt that way to me. But God is.
The challenge for us is that we try to understand an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God.
So, let’s just look at it in the natural for a moment.
What parent lets us do whatever we want whenever we want?
What parent never disciplines us, in love, in order to correct our behavior?
What parent is never upset with us over our poor choices?
What parent never allows us to suffer the consequences of our sin?
Is that really love?
Hebrews 12:11 ESV says,
11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Third, God is good.
God is good all the time, and that’s not just some cliché. He sits high and sees the past, present, and future.
If we make a wrong move, He may allow or disallow certain things, so that it may result in a better direction for us. But we have to choose to cooperate with Him.
In other words, He’s trying to help us course correct.
Mark 10:18 ESV reads,
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
There’s much debate about what this Scripture means. For right now, let’s just take it at face value. God is good and we should follow Him to become more like Him, but as for us, as long as we’re here on this earth we’ll never be sinless.
1 John 1:10 AMP says,
If we say that we have not sinned [refusing to admit acts of sin], we make Him [out to be] a liar [by contradicting Him] and His word is not in us.
The challenge for us is we don’t understand it all because we can’t see it all. That’s where faith comes in.
We must trust that God has our best interest at heart.
In Luke 11:11-13 NLT, God says,
11 “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
So, God desires to give us good gifts, and at the same time understand, that like a parent that wants the best for us He must discipline us.
- He is a merciful God, and He doesn’t always give us what we deserve.
- He is a good God. Just because we don’t always get our way doesn’t make Him any less good.
I often hear, “God can do anything.” Oh, that’s so not true. Here are a few things He can’t do.
- He can’t lie (Numbers 23:19).
- He can’t be tempted by evil nor does He tempt you with evil (James 1:13).
- God doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6).
Here’s the one I think about the most in my own life.
Matthew 12:58 NIV
And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
We tie Gods hands, so to speak, when we don’t obey and when we don’t believe.
So, if God is love, then why? Think about it. Ask the Holy Spirit to first show you, you. Then to show you what’s going on. Please don’t blame God for our disobedience or the sin in this world. He didn’t do it. We all have free will.
When I was young, I foolishly thought as long as I didn’t hurt anybody else with what I was doing it was all right. How wrong I was.
Romans 5:12 BSB
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned.
Our actions do affect others, so we need the Parent.
God is the ultimate example of good parenting. He still loves us when we’ve blown it. We simply have to ask for forgiveness and help to turn away from that thing.
So put away those childish thoughts about God. We have our own thoughts about how we think God should be and what He should do.
What we’re really saying is that we don’t want to suffer the consequences of our sins or the sin of others. Instead, study what love is according to the Word.
There’s a quote by Abraham Wright that says, “We may feel God’s hand as a Father upon us when He strikes us as well as when He strokes us.”
That’s so true.
To discipline a child produces wisdom (Proverbs 29:15).
Whoever love discipline loves knowledge (Proverbs 12:1).
So, submit to the discipline of the Father.
As children of God, we’re being trained by discipline to produce the fruit of righteousness…now that’s the Point of Purpose. See you next time.
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