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In this series of articles, we have attempted to wrestle through the uncomfortable question if it is God’s will that people do horrendous acts, such as the rape and torture of children, or any other unconscionable deed. However, we have also had to consider the biblical truth that, from God’s perspective, without the righteousness that Jesus has freely given, we ourselves are guilty of crimes, just like the individuals who do the things we abhor. It is a difficult truth to swallow, but swallow it we must; otherwise, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross means nothing. The good news is that if we accept that amazing truth, we are free from our despicability. It’s amazing to comprehend, but Christians are now clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Himself. Perfect. Clean. Without guilt. We possess eternal life. Believers in Jesus actually become God’s sons and daughters and will receive an inheritance, of all things. Jesus was punished, we are not. We are, instead, recipients of grace and forgiveness for—everything.

However, this does not make the question about God’s will and the committing of horrendous acts disappear. Terrible things happen to the just and the unjust. No one escapes tragedy. Any of our lives could change in a moment, with a phone call or a knock on the door. At those times, we wonder why God would allow such an appalling thing to happen and may begin to question either His goodness, omnipotence, or both. If He’s good and all-powerful, why did He allow this soul-crushing event to transpire?

In this final post, we will attempt to provide the solution to this bewildering question. The ultimate answer seems, at first, to offer little comfort: Nothing happens on the earth or in the universe that the Lord doesn’t cause or allow. Thus, the dreadful thing that happened was, somehow, God’s will. God is sovereign over everything. Scripture clearly states that, basically, God does whatever He wants (Psalm 115:2–8; 135:5–7). (Again, we should approach this difficult topic with sensitivity. The one who asks such questions may be thinking back to a past tragedy, and although the wound is no longer bleeding, the scar may still be present.)

The unbelieving world doesn’t know what to do with a God who is sovereign over all, and frankly, Christians struggle with it, as well. God is God. He does what He does according to the purpose of His own will. He doesn’t need your permission. He doesn’t need your advice. You can shake your fist at Him. You can curse Him, blaspheme Him, judge Him as evil or powerless, even deny He exists. None of this impedes His ability to perform what He has set out to do or threatens Him in any way. In the light of such attacks on God, I think of Paul’s question. “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’” (Romans 9:20). 1

The Christian God does or allows things for reasons we cannot comprehend. He knows the future. We do not. Thus, in our lifetimes, it is very likely we will not have this question answered: “Why did this have to happen?!”

Scripture never answers that question.

Never.

This is made painfully clear in the account of Job, who, except for his wife, lost everything—his children and all his possessions. The questions God asks him because he complained and criticized Him, are something to behold. This one alone should cause us to pause and think when we are facing some incomprehensible tragedy: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:4).

Well, where were you? Exactly. You weren’t there. You are not eternal. You cannot see the end from the beginning. Therefore, your understanding of why things are the way they are is astoundingly inadequate. God was alive and active before time began, before creation itself. He lives outside of time, as difficult as that is to understand. Thus, He was alive and aware and saw the tragedy that has overwhelmed you before it happened. He fully knows about every future event, its cause, and result—the eternal result. Do you?

However, it is more than His omniscience and eternality that is at issue here. This knowing-everything God is also good, without flaw or error or evil. He is the definition of good, since He created the concept of good as we know it.

So, we, who are not good, are going to judge Him, judge His actions?

We, who cannot see the end from the beginning, cannot see the eternal outcome of all the deaths, the evils, and tragedies, are going to offer our judgments of the One who does?

Knowing that God is good, perfectly good, offers comfort. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” We will see the “why” of events that have occurred on the earth when all things are revealed—but that is yet to come. Until then, we trust that He is who He says He is—good. We suffer. We weep. With His help, strength, and comfort we endeavor to go on.

That is the simple but demanding answer.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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