As the holidays approach over the next two months, there appears to be a softer, gentler spirit in our daily interaction with others. We seem to sense that this time of year inspires greater kindness and love.
Suddenly, a new wrinkle invades. It distracts us, and we focus our attention on a horrific and dark event that just occurred. A child dies, someone is killed, or some other catastrophic, emotional, nightmare happens.
Faster than the speed of light, a mental response for some of us might question how a loving God could allow such an unexpected, undeserved or evil thing to happen? In fact, how could a God of compassion permit so much suffering?
It seems that blaming God for evil, illness, ill-treatment, punishment, or countless hardships is a misguided assumption. God is the source of all love. His nature, personality, and essence are love. The object of His love is, and always will be, His human creations.
When God created the first man and woman, He cared for them and provided for them. In fact, they were given everything they needed to “go forth and populate the earth.” (Genesis 2:27) They were created as responsible beings, free to make choices.
When people exercise free will, they enjoy the freedom to love, to hate, to be morally responsible, to be immoral, and to better their lives and the lives of others. They have freedom to build, to destroy, to yield, or to resist.
Like many things, freedom frequently is misused. As a result, there is a great potential for evil. Nazi Germany and the Taliban are gigantic examples of destructive evil, oppression, and death. On the other hand, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa and others, are light shining examples of healing, freedom and Godly love. If God intervened every time a person misused free will, He would control our decisions as if we were computers or robots. This would not be freedom for any of us.
God permits us to make personal choices, even when we sometimes hurt others. The consequences of our choices are always waiting in the wings. God is truly the only righteous Judge of all our actions. He is also faithful to strengthen, to comfort, and to love us whenever we suffer. He is aware of our fears, tears, pain and anger. Nothing escapes His attention.
When evil touches us, love comes to the forefront as we show compassion for the distressed person or persons. Without free will, our appreciation of love in the face of evil would not be as dynamic.
Evil may last for a season, but love, God’s love, is eternal.