We hear of earthquakes, tsunamis, suicide bombers, wars, diseases, and all kinds of problems happening in our world and some begin to wonder – where is God in all this? How can we answer those who doubt God’s power and sovereignty? There are even some ‘religious leaders’ who have expressed doubts about God’s ability or willingness to respond. What can we learn about things like this from the life of Jesus?
Jesus never doubted the goodness or the power of God when confronting evils here on the earth. (Mark 9:21-24) He expressed compassion for people and confidence in the power of God to deal with the situation. He faced questions about things that happened: Luke 13:1-4 “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you. No! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them – do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’” Jesus said that God was not punishing some people by having some disaster happen to them, but that we should recognize that this type of thing will happen in this world and that we should use it as a call to repent and return to God.
We are told to expect evils in this life – Luke 21:10-12, 16, 26. But perhaps the most shocking thing Jesus told His disciples was –John 16:1-2 “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue: in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God.” (Sound like the jihadist today?) And yet there is not a flicker of doubt in Jesus as to the goodness and sovereignty of God. He was concerned with helping those who would follow Him maintain faith in the time of evil. –Luke 21:28
This is not the time for weakening faith, but for unwavering hope. As ambassadors for Christ to a world that does not understand the consequences of sin, we need to offer hope in God through Jesus Christ, not just sympathy for victims. It does no good for people to get angry at God or question why – and we cannot offer hope if we harbor doubts ourselves. James 1:2-7 Remember that even from the evils in this world, God can bring good- and hope to those who trust Him. (Rom 8:28)