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Does the fault lie with God?


Why do bad things happen to good people?

That is a question that is often asked and has been answered somewhat unsuccessfully over the years.  Behind the question are some unstated thoughts.  The first being, that bad things happening is a sort of punishment and therefore, should only happen to bad people.  The second being, that bad things happening to good people negates the possibility of a good and loving, all-powerful God.

Let’s take a look at the first one, that bad things are a sort of punishment.  Is it really?  Could it not be that we live in a broken world and therefore bad things just happen without consideration of the  character and nature of the person it happens to affect?  Well then, you might answer that questions with the second unstated thought mentioned above, “Wouldn’t a loving, all-powerful God have kept that from happening to the good person?”  Well certainly God could have.  But where does the fault really lie?

Back in October, 2006, ten young Amish girls from Lancaster, PA, were shot while in school.  Five of the girls died, and the gunman shot and killed himself.  This story cut me to the core.  I felt such grief it was hard to put aside.  You see the Amish are such trusting, kind, peaceful, and God-loving people.  It seemed so much worse that this happened to their little girls.  Well, I went to work at the church that day, but felt drawn to the sanctuary to pray.  I sat all alone in on a wooden pew and prayed for the girls and their families.   While I was praying I felt God calling me to write something down.  So, I hurried to my office computer and typed as God spoke to me.  I consider this to be his answer to the question, “Where was God when…?”

Where was God?

Where was God when the gunman planned his evil? Where was God when he bought tools of torture and destruction just the hour before? Why didn’t God do something? How can we believe in a loving God when he allows things like this to happen? On the surface these sound like fair questions and they challenge our belief and our faith, don’t they?  Take a moment to listen to the voice of God as he answers.

Where was I you ask? I was right there with those girls and with their teachers and with their parents and with their neighbors and yes, even with the gunman. I was and am holding these families in my arms. Give me the courtesy to let me return the question. Where were YOU? Were you not going about your daily routine, working, shopping, sleeping, and eating? Were you not listening to music or talk radio as you drove in your car? When my precious children were shot, I was the first to cry. My anguish was unfathomable to you. When the police arrived, and the parents started to get word, and when they searched all over for their children, and when I saw the deep emotional harm done to the boys of that school, I got angry.

Where were YOU? Are you not my children too? Why, children, when you forget me as your drive to and fro, when you work and when you play, when you eat and when you sleep, why do you suddenly remember me and ask me where I’ve been?  Why, when you worship in semi empty or even full churches and temples, and then leave me there when you walk out the doors, do you ask me where I am? I’m here where I’ve always been. It is you who have gone away. You, my precious ones.  You, the ones so dear to me that I have given my most precious gift to you Jesus.  Didn’t my son tell you to feed my sheep and take care of my lambs?  Did you think that meant opening your wallet and donating money?  Didn’t my son charge you to go out and make disciples of all the nations? Did you think that only meant to convince others that your religion was the perfect one? Oh, my child, I meant so much more than that.  Way back in the beginning of time I gave you charge of this world. I have been with you through all the centuries guiding and teaching. Yet, you did not seem to understand. So, I sent my son to teach and demonstrate, so that you could know. Have you read about his life, how he lived and what he taught, or have you kept the textbook of life on the shelf where it’s only value is as a dust collector?

If you want to come to me and ask me where I was, then you first must answer me. Where were you when the FCC loosened its grip on the entertainment world, and now your sons and daughters have been raised on unimaginable violence and filth?  Where were you when the young people of your world needed your time, but you were too busy working to give it to them?  Where were you when the fashion industry and the advertising industry fed your children the lie that what they wear makes them who they are?

If you want to ask me why I didn’t do something you must first answer me. Why weren’t you shouting from the rooftops when the schools started giving out condoms? Why didn’t you speak up and say, “Purity has value,” “Morality is important”?  How long will you allow your girls to dress like harlots, and then complain about the numbers of single moms, abortion, and the burden of welfare?  How could you close your eyes when your leaders demonstrate to the world immorality?  Why have you plopped your children in front of video games, computers, and TV’s and let the entertainment industry fill their minds with hate?  Why didn’t you speak up when the schools started teaching evolution as truth instead of theory and then shut the doors on all other theories including intelligent design?  Evolution. Think about that. It is the easy choice.  If you don’t need me, then you don’t have to worry about things like morals and values. They are meaningless aren’t they? You are the creator of your own destiny. It is all for the moment and all for your own pleasure. Step on people when you climb the ladder, and that is just fine. Steal a few things from work and as long as no one finds out, it is A-OK.

Of course then you need to stop looking for me when bad things happen, don’t you?

Don’t you realize what a world without me is like? Look around you. Open your eyes. By your choice you are moving in that direction. I am here, but you seem to want to do things your way and leave me behind. I have given you free will, and I will not take that away. What would forced worship be to me? How could we have a loving relationship if you are bound to me like a prisoner in chains? No, I am here with open arms and a loving heart. I cry when you hurt, and I laugh and smile when you are happy. I offer you love, peace, joy, mercy, abundance, and fullness. Yet you turn away.

You wonder why I’m angry. I have given you everything I can give, and look at what you have done with it. You ask me where I was. Dear child, I was here. I must ask you, “Where were you?” (Written on 10/4/2006)

Where does the fault really lie?  I think it falls right at the feet of God’s people.  Yes, you read that right.  I think God’s people have, in large measure, stopped being the salt and the light of the world.  We have lost our saltiness when we stopped fighting the encroaching immorality.  We stopped being beacons of light when we started changing the gospel message to keep from offending people with hopes of filling our pews and our offering plates.  We leaders failed to be God’s people when we equated numbers of people in our churches with being successful shepherds of God’s flock.  And don’t think for a minute that those who are in the church body can put all the blame on the leaders because it is the church members, themselves, who hold growth in numbers as the measuring rod for their leadership.  It is not the number of people in the pews of our churches that matter.  It is the number of people in God’s Church that matter, and God’s Church has no walls. In fact members of God’s Church spend more time outside of their physical church building than in it.  They are out serving, helping, encouraging, standing with, supporting, and loving people in the name of Jesus. If we have lost our saltiness, there is no way for us to become salty again except for the renew grace of our Lord.  I think it is time we Christians really got serious about repentance.  What do you think?

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