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The Word on the Week

Why Doesn’t God stop the Trouble?

Why do bad things happen to good people? The cry rings out again and again. It’s not fair! They have suffered enough!

This week the cry was picked up by a Journalist whose father-in-law was burned out of his home on Christmas Day. As fate would have it the poor man was in the shower when the building went up so he literally lost everything in the ensuing flight! To compound the problem he had not renewed his fire insurance and the policy had lapsed!

Another tragedy this week struck a distant relative of ours. She, along with her daughters, had nursed her husband for seven years after he had suffered a brain haemorrhage. He had been unable to communicate with them but they faithfully kept up the vigil visiting daily throughout these years. He died two years ago. We now hear that she has contracted Motor Neuron disease – a progressive illness with no known cure. It’s not fair. You want to shout it!

If we were to stand back for a moment from the poignancy of these situations we could imagine our evolutionist friend saying that this is what you could expect from a world created by a series of random acts of chance. On the other hand an atheist friend might seize the opportunity to blame God – even though he doesn’t believe in him – and ask how a good God could allow this to happen. Either he is not good or he is not capable of preventing these things.

But whether we believe in evolution and or go down the popular path of the atheist these personal disasters shake our self centred way of life and make us look for answers.

When you reflect on bad things happening to good people it is hard to ignore the crucifixion of Jesus. By any standard he was a good person. His death was the cruellest the Roman soldiers could devise. This begs the question, “Why didn’t God stop the trouble?”

There is no doubt he could have stopped it but didn’t. Perhaps death is not the worst thing that can happen. Perhaps there was purpose in it that we only partially know but we believe love was at the centre of it – “This is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins” 1John Chapter 4 verse 10.

There are times when the trouble does not stop and we feel like the Psalmist “How long O Lord will you forget me forever?” Psalm 13 verse 1. But we are reminded that God’s love is transcendent and hear Jesus words, “I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” St John Chapter 14 verse 3. And that sort of love will sustain us through the darkest night.