Is God Good?

Posted: August 10, 2014 in Articles
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Below are three short synopses of a sermon some in our family listened to this morning. Each one was written by a different person so they vary a little. The sermon addressed an important question that has been asked for centuries: “Why do terrible things happen in the world?” Here are the three summaries:

#1: Basically what I got from the sermon was that we can’t know why bad things happen and we just have to accept that God has a good reason for it. That may seem like a hard pill to swallow. You can believe that God is a good God who is ultimately in control. Even if people are being murdered, are becoming diseased, and everything horrible you can think of, God has some reason which we cannot fathom. To us, it seems there is no rational reason and so we keep asking “Why?”. If it strikes someone as just too ridiculous to believe that a good God allows horrible things to happen, the only other option would be to either believe there is no God, or that God is not as good as Christians would have you believe.

Reading about the miseries in W. Africa and maybe the same miseries coming to our own town, the miseries in Iraq, the miseries in Gaza, there seems to be no reasonable reason behind it all if a good God exists. It’s just terrifying misery. But for the Christian, even though the reason is not apparent to us, there is a God who has the reason and one day, all of the horrible confusion will be made clear to us. It seems like the only thing we can hope in is a God who is good and does things for ultimate good – even while the most horrific things are happening.

I may have it wrong – you can listen to the sermon at sermonaudio.com. This was our pastor while we lived in Philadelphia and we like him a lot. We still listen to him even though we do not live there anymore. His name is Liam Goligher in case you have the slightest interest in all of this.

#2: Liam Goligher’s sermon this morning was (I thought) basically saying that many tragedies will happen. He gave examples of tragedies, and saying that there is no apparent reason for them to happen. That is true, and he went on to say that people automatically ask why tragedies happen.

In my opinion, he was then saying that you should not ask why. You should trust that God has a good reason for whatever happens, however terrible it may be.

#3: Today we listened to a sermon by a pastor we respect and listen to frequently. It was on Luke 13: 1 -5. This is the passage where Jesus addresses two instances of suffering. These are Jesus’ words from the verse.

“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

From this passage the pastor preached on the topic, “how can a good God allow bad things to happen to good people?” This is a hard question, and one that I do not have a good answer for, nor have I ever heard a good answer. The answer that the pastor gave today boiled down is this: “We do not know, but God does”

This answer is not very easy to accept, especially if you are in the midst of hardship or suffering, but perhaps it is the most honest answer. We don’t know. The Bible never gives an answer. In the passage above from Luke, Jesus gives no answer for this dilemma, but only points out that all are sinners and need to repent.

If you don’t believe in God then you never ask this question. But for Christians, this is a difficult question that never gets a satisfactory answer. The pastor today, in addition to the answer, “we don’t know”, offered these thoughts.

The secret things of God belong to God, the revealed things belong to man. We do not know the reason for suffering and seemingly needless death, but in the end, we will know, and, more importantly, when we know we will know that it was worth it, and it makes sense.

This is one of the most difficult things about being a Christian. Maintaining faith in a God who won’t answer some of the questions we long most to have answered. A God who seems to let cruelty, death, and suffering continue with no reason and without justice.

This is what faith is, believing that in the end things will work out and will make sense. But it is extremely hard sometimes to keep the faith.

So there you have it. I personally did not listen to the sermon since I had to work, but the three people who did listen seemed to get about the same thing from Liam’s teaching and I hope they got the thing the pastor wanted for people to get.

by Dink

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