In a world with so much evil and suffering it can be easy to blame God. A sovereign God has control over His creation, so He’s often deemed to be wrong for allowing corruption. He created the angels knowing that some of them would rebel against Him. He knew these evil spirits would then tempt human beings to join them in their rebellion. He also knew there would be disease, war and poverty on the Earth. To a human’s way of thinking, this seems to make God responsible for all that is bad in the world. This is human thinking, though, and the creation doesn’t have the wisdom or the authority to question the Creator.
God could have created everyone in Heaven from the very beginning and spared us all the suffering of our lives on Earth. As nice as this sounds, it would have deprived us of the choice to show Him devotion during bad times as well as good. An entirely faithful Christian doesn’t just give thanks for everything, but given thanks IN everything (I Thes. 5:18). Let’s suppose a Christian is in a car accident and although her car is totaled, she’s thanking God for not being hurt. Now let’s say a piece of glass hit one of her eyes and blinded it. She’s now thanking God for sparing her other eye. And had she been blinded in both eyes, she would be thanking God for sparing her life. She knows God has the right to take away what He has given her and is still thankful for what she’s allowed to keep.
Instead of thanking God for what He has given them, there are those who lash out at Him for taking away what they never deserved in the first place. Everything you have has been given to you by God, so why bite the hand that feeds you? I’ll tell you right now that if I had to depend on charity to get by in life, I would be thankful for anything and everything I received. If I was provided with food, that would be great. If I was also given a place to live, that would be even better. If this charitable organization suddenly stopped providing me with shelter, I would still be thankful for the food I was receiving. If the food was taken away as well, I wouldn’t be justified in criticizing the charity for no longer giving me what I had no right demanding of it. How are things any different with God?
Death seems to be the favorite ammunition for people who blame God. “How can a loving God allow death?” they ask. I counter this with a question of my own: How can you denounce God for putting an expiration date on the lives that He alone has given us? Christians rightfully thank God for the privilege of life and are especially thankful when their lives or the lives of their loved ones are spared after they come close to death. Before having a change of heart, I accused Christians of only caring about themselves and those close to them. I remember watching the news with disgust whenever I saw them give God credit for sparing the life of a loved one from a tragic event that left several others dead. I scornfully imitated them as saying, “Several people may have been killed, but thank God my loved one is still alive!” Being the prejudiced man I was, I only used such rationale against God. Human beings who did something good for only specific individuals I considered generous, knowing they weren’t obligated to help anyone at all. This same double standard is used by many others who are just as lost as I had been.
God is worthy of praise for all that is good, even though not everyone can share in that good fortune. I’m sure you’ve seen those commercials about sick or starving children who need a sponsor to keep them alive. If a very wealthy man could afford to sponsor every child represented by one of those organizations, but chose to sponsor only one of them, it wouldn’t be wrong for that child’s family to thank him even though they knew other children weren’t as fortunate. Neither is it wrong to thank God for saving one life while letting others perish. It’s pretty sad that some people have gone so far as to accuse Him of murder for allowing death. That’s kind of like being given a car to use free of charge, and then accusing the owner of theft when he or she decides you’ve used it long enough. No matter how you try looking at it, you have no right to condemn God for taking away what He has freely given you.
People need to quit thinking God owes them something. I once watched a documentary about a guy who was born without arms and he mentioned he was mad at God for making him that way. However, what God provided him with was sufficient for him to live his life. He was able to use his feet to write letters, eat with spoons and forks, and even drive a car. It’s not until the handicapped compare themselves with others that they realize they’re missing out on something. I want you to envision a community of people living in harmony on a secluded island. No one has any physical advantages over another and they are all satisfied with what God has given them. Then they leave the island one day and discover that everyone else in the world has wings to fly with in addition to arms and legs. Suddenly some of them feel cheated by God. Of course I made this up, but I think you understand the moral of the story.
It’s we who owe God, not vice versa. Some things we are freely given, others we have to work for. Food is something we usually have to work for. In spite of this, it’s God who provides sunlight for crops, and it’s God who created both vegetation and the soil that plants grow in. Therefore Christians thank God for food. If you don’t have access to food and go hungry, you should have comfort knowing that those hunger pangs are temporary. There’s something greater to focus on than a temporary life. All of God’s people will one day go to a place where there will be no more death, sorrow or crying (Rev. 21:4). The apostle Paul correctly wrote that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
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