Where is God when bad things happen? This question on the minds of many individuals today is as old as the history of humankind. The answer is actually found in the oldest record of human behavior.
In the Old Testament history of the Israelites there were many occasions that God’s chosen people asked this question. In the Old Testament Book of Judges, Gideon asked this question directly to a messenger from God.
“Please sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us…?” (Judges 6:13 ESV) An enemy nation, the Midianites, had overtaken and was continually oppressing the Israelites. Gideon could not see what God had supposedly done for them in the past as being applicable or sufficient for the present bad circumstances they were enduring.
Gideon could not see that what Israel was currently experiencing was connected with the behavior of the people of his nation in the past. Israel was being oppressed within the will of God because they had deliberately and consistently disobeyed God and the principles of His Word.
God’s intention for humankind was for them to live in a paradise world without suffering and pain. God created man and woman with free wills because He loved His special creations and desired that they, in turn, would love, obey and serve Him.
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31, ESV) God did not create evil and the bad things we now sometimes experience. These things are the result of a fallen world and are the direct consequences of the original sin of the first man and woman. (See Genesis, chapter 3)
What are we to do when we experience bad things happening to us in life today? First, we must realize that the conditions we face in this world are a result of “our” creation, not “God’s” creation. God is still the sovereign creator and sustainer of the entire universe.
We must seek God’s forgiveness for our behavior and the behavior of our forefathers, seek to live by the principles of His Holy Word, and seek His guidance and direction for our lives. We must continually trust God as our national motto states: “In God we trust.”
While there are several reasons or explanations for why bad things happen to us, I am convinced, based upon biblical teachings, that our failure to honor and follow God is one prime reason.
Hope for a better nation lives in our hope for God. With hope in God, we have real hope for a better nation. With hope only in ourselves, we will continue to experience bad things.
Now, I realize that you may not believe in God and may not believe in the Word of God as a guide for your life. But when we analyze our options, we have only two real choices: belief in a Sovereign God who controls the universe, or belief in humankind to direct and control our world. We all have that choice. I choose to go with God.
This faith perspective is the opinion of Pastor Nolen Rollins, cofounder of Summit Churches (Estero, Gateway and Naples) and founder and pastor emeritus of Legacy Church Estero. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.