Turn on the news and it will be undeniable that evil exists. Talk to people and hear their stories. We’ve mostly all been touched by some form of evil; at least have seen evil in the lives of those close to us.
Some evil is unspeakable. We don’t know exactly how to cope with some evil so we ignore it. We would rather run or hide from it. It just seems easier that way. Adults are some what more immune to it than kids. After years and years of hearing of murders, rapes, molestation, drowning of innocent animals, bombing hospitals, and hurting innocent people in general, there is really only so much we can process. So we take in the information, lock it away, push it back, ignore it, and move on with our daily routine. As long as it didn’t happen to us we can push it out of our minds, or at least lock it away. Kids are a little different–in America at least. Kids haven’t had the chance to process all of these things. We talk about the innocence of kids because they hear of evil and they are dumbfounded. They often cry. They ask why? They want answers, and sometimes we adults struggle with those answers. Our typical response is to ignore it, so when someone requires an answer it becomes a conundrum. My son once asked, “if God is good, then why are some people born sick with broken bodies?” It was such a thoughtful question from a five year old.
If God is good… One would presume IF God was good then all of His creation would be also. In yet, we are not. We humans are wicked and evil. We are also weak, feeble minded, and sick. We are all dying–decaying at different rates. The Bible says in Psalm 103:15-16, “As for man, his days are like the grass; he flourishes like a flower of the fields, for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.” So, how is God good? and how should we process evil? I know the “church answer” but when someone is processing evil the best answer for them isn’t exactly, “because we sin.” The best answer is hope.
Hope for something better than this earth is all some people have. I watched a video on Facebook that literally made me break down and cry right there. A dose of reality that we don’t often get in America. America is far from perfect, but we also aren’t war torn. The little boy in this video I watched was gassed in Aleppo. As he’s crying asking the nurse “miss will I die?” the hospital is bombed. He doesn’t know where his siblings are or his parents I presume. He’s alone aside from the hospital staff and other victims. It’s just a lot to take in and I could never look at this child and tell him, “well you were bombed because sin is in the world and is taking over this world.” No, I would want to offer him hope. Hope for better days. Hope for a better eternity. Hope in Jesus. I don’t believe the disciples of Christ who were beaten, beheaded, and hung upside down on a cross would say they went through that pain knowing that there is sin in the world and it is just something they must endure. Instead they went through the pain because of HOPE. The apostles witnessed the miracles of Jesus, his death on the cross, and his resurrection. So they went out and changed the world based on a hope of eternity with God. Our hope in this world filled with evil is that God is GOOD, and because he is good we have hope.
Psalm 136:1, ” Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.”
James 1:17, ” Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
1 Chronicles 16:34, “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for his loving kindness is everlasting.”
Even with these verses in mind it is easy to look around at the world and not see good. They are just words after all. Of course the little boy in Aleppo isn’t looking around and thinking, “God is good” because he just breathed in gas; then his hospital caring for him was bombed. It’s easier at the moment to see those things. It’s easy to look around at our world and only focus on the bad–to see the death, rape, murder, hatred for people, and I could go on… As we age it is even easier to focus on these things rather than the elemental things; the beauty of life God has given us. For example, have you ever watched a baby outside and seen their eyes light up with wonder? For us it’s just the wind blowing the trees. We’ve seen it a million times. For them it is new. It is something to explore and wonder about. Why are the leaves blowing? We take these things for granted because we see them every day. But when you think about it God is good; not only because the Bible tells us so, but because He gives us every breath. He gives us beauty and complexity that we can not even begin to understand. We might be able to categorize the trees and plants, but we cannot create a seed that grows into a tree. We couldn’t have created a mechanism for the pollination of flowers like God did the bees and the butterflies. Instead we go into full on panic when bees begin to die and the crops don’t grow up.
You see, all the facts, all the science, and all the learning / knowledge that we acquire is because there is a good and perfect creator. He is good because the earth spins in space in perfect alignment. He is good because the sun gives us warmth, and light, but does not scorch us. He is good because He gives life. Not only life here but life after death. In John 14 Jesus tells his disciples that He will leave this earth to prepare mansions for them in His Father’s house. That He is “the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Here Jesus is offering more hope. That if we believe we will see Heaven, and Jesus himself will be preparing our house with Him for eternity! We tend to fall in love with this earth, and the creation itself, but we need to fall in love with the creator. The one who not only gave us this beautiful creation to enjoy, but promises life after death with Him. As we see in living daily, the creation will die but the hope is that the creator is everlasting. Eternal life is everlasting. This is where I keep my hope.
Looking around I see the corruption, but I have hope that after this life there is ever lasting life with the Creator God. No more death, no more corruption, greed, etc..just peace. Just good. All the beauty of this life with no sin. A perfect lush garden without weeds. A rose without thorns. Love without hate. Love without fear. You see, I can’t tell the little boy in Aleppo to look at the trees and see beauty. His world is in shreds and his life in turmoil. The only hope he literally has is that when he leaves this world He will see the Creator God, and there will be no more fear.
1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” The fear this verse is referring to is fear of wrath and eternal judgement. Fear in death. But the perfect love of God (sending His son to die on a cross for our sin) casts out all fear. It only gives HOPE. This hope is not only a reason to keep living, but it is also a reason not to fear.
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)