If God is real, then why do bad things happen?
This is an age old question that atheists have used for many years to try to explain their disbelief in God and it is also a question that can be difficult to explain, especially when person asking, isn't very receptive to an answer that you can't physically prove to them. But even I have to admit that I have had moments in my life where I have asked God: where were you when I needed you?
Although I find it sad when I hear on the news about the horrible things that people do to one another every day. (Murder, abuse and robbery are a few examples.) I try to remember that this is simply just a sad mistreatment of the gift that God gave to us when He created the world. That gift was free will. We humans were given the ability to make our own decisions and choose our actions.
This is something that we can either use to enhance Gods creation or inhibit it. The bible has plenty to say on the subject of free will, “for you have been called to live in freedom my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead use your freedom to serve one another in love". Galatians chapter 5 verse 13 NIV.
So God gave us the freedom to choose our actions and the abuse of that gift can explain some of the bad things that happen in our lives as a result of our or other people’s choices or actions. But where is God when those things happen?
I have had plenty of times when I have been struggling for reasons I couldn’t explain, and I find myself getting frustrated with God for not solving the problem for me. Then when I have a chance to calm down I realize that just because God didn'tstop the bad thing from happening, didn't mean that He wasn't there. Sometimes we just need to look a little harder and be thankful that God was able to be with us in those times in other ways.
This could be anything from Him giving you a support system of people during your difficult time, to simply helping you change your mind set. But even Jesus had moments where he felt lost and like God wasn't there for Him. "Then at three o'clock Jesus cried out my God my God why have you abandoned me." Matthew chapter 27 verse 46 NLT.
In the bible there are many examples of God supporting people during a tragedy to change things for the better. Stephen is one such example. Stephen was stoned to death for openly preaching about the love of God and for teaching about Jesus. As he was stoned, Stephen was quoted in saying that he could see heaven and Jesus. “Look I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." Acts chapter 7 verse 56 NIV.
So even though Stephen was killed, God was still with him and used this tragedy to transform the life of one of the men involved in his death. This man was Saul of Tarsus, later known as the apostle Paul.
So even though God doesn’t always stop the bad things from happening, that doesn’t mean that He isn’t there. Sometimes He's the supportive friend, or the like in the case of Paul, the transformed witness who is able to impact others for the better because of their experiences. As it says in Hebrews chapter 13 verse 5 NLT. "Because God has said. Never will I leave you, never will forsake you.”
Those simple words are a good reminder that in times of trouble, we are never alone.
Now I leave you with one final quote by Steven Furtick (pastor of Elevation church) that describes to me, where God is during the hard times. “God didn't bring you out into deep waters to drown you. Hebrought you here because you're enemies can't swim!”
Kate Tooke is 26 and she loves gardening, exercising and spending time with her husband. She’s also actively involved in herchurch worship team.