In light of Hurricane Irma, with Hurricane (or should I say, Him-icane) Jose building up power just off the Eastern Seaboard, people are again asking that age-old question:
“If God is a loving, compassionate and protective Father, why does He let these terrible things happen to people?”
The answer is, actually, very simple…just because God is in control of everything, that doesn’t mean He will control everything.
There are multiple references in the bible to the fact that the enemy of God, Ha Satan (that devil!) is in control of the Earth. He was thrown down to it (Luke 10:18), when he offered rule of it to Yeshua (Matthew 4:9) and Yeshua didn’t say anything about Satan not having the authority to offer rule over the world, it implies Yeshua recognized Satan did have rule over the world , and Satan is called the Prince of the Power of the Air (Ephesians 2:2.) There are other references, as well, all indicating that when Satan was ousted from heaven, along with 1/3 of the heavenly hosts (which are now fallen angels, or what we call “demons”), he was given authority over the Earth. Even if we skip the biblical references and just use our common sense, it is obvious that God is allowing Satan to rule. That is why there are so many terrible things happening to good people, and bad people as well. Not just destructive acts of nature, but people hurting people. I saw an an article in the paper just this past week about an 11-year old that stabbed a 9-year old to death! Clearly that can not be, in any way, something from God- it has to be of the Devil.
There have been times, no doubt, that God Himself has caused destruction: Babel, the Flood, Sodom, Pharaoh’s army, Jericho, as well as many of the battles of the Israelites against their enemies. All these terrible calamities were caused by God for a reason- to show His power, His authority and His ability to protect His chosen people when they call upon His name.
Those things God did are just “a drop in the bucket” compared to the destruction, death and devastation the enemy has caused over the millennia. God allows it because, well…I don’t know! He just does, that’s all. He has a plan, and we know what it is because He has told us all about it in the bible. However, He doesn’t always tell us why He allows these things to happen and when, exactly, He will stop them for good.
That’s where faith comes in. Our faith in God, which we demonstrate by trusting Him to make all things right in the end. And what if we have to suffer during the time between Eden and the new Jerusalem? What do we do? We suffer. We go through the fire, we get melted down so that the dross can be removed, so that through this suffering- especially the suffering caused by the enemy- we can come out more purified than before.
The enemy makes us suffer to destroy our faith, and God allows us to suffer to strengthen our faith- and when we remain faithful we come out of it stronger. That’s the big joke God is playing on the enemy: God knows that the more the enemy attacks a faithful person, the stronger the faith of that person will become. And when we remain faithful through our suffering, sooner or later the enemy will have to take a break, and that’s when God will come in with blessings to revive and refresh our spirit.
I prayed that Irma would pass by my house but when I saw it wouldn’t, I had to leave Donna in New York halfway through our road trip (which we had been planning for months), miss the friend and family gatherings we had planned, miss a niece’s wedding, and rush home to board up the house. My prayers for Irma passing were answered with, “Sorry-ain’t gonna happen.” My next prayer was for protection from the small lake behind my house, which had risen so much it was about to flood the house (it was only about 10 feet from flooding the house just as the worst part of the hurricane started.) That prayer was given the “OK- you’re covered” (thank the Lord!) and we didn’t get flooded, although a friend in another part of town had 1 -2 feet of water throughout his house.
A little extra protection God gave, also, was that even though the winds were blowing directly from the lake to the house, all the tree branches in the backyard fell into the wind, missing my porch and house (which are only 10 feet from the tree) completely. To give you an idea of how remarkable that is, here is a shot of how much debris there was (that pile goes back a good 6 feet onto the grass):
So when terrible things happen on the earth, I think we shouldn’t automatically blame God because He isn’t really running the day-to-day stuff on the earth. Oh yes- He listens to us, He sees us, He protects us (when it fits into His plan) and He allows bad things to happen to us (which also fits into His plan); it is all designed to strengthen our faith and our spirit so that we can be ready for the REALLY bad stuff that is yet to come. The Book of Revelation tells us what to expect when the fecal matter hits the air circulation unit, and compared to those days, hurricane Irma, Tsunami’s, earthquakes, and all the other terrible things that have ever happened in the world’s history will seem like a walk in the park.
From now on, when someone asks you why a good God can let bad things happen, don’t let them use that as an excuse for apostasy or faithlessness- no, you tell them straight out that it isn’t God’s fault because the enemy rules the earth and God is only biding His time. Just because we don’t understand God’s ways doesn’t mean that He doesn’t exist, doesn’t care, doesn’t love us, or isn’t in control (which He is). It just means we don’t understand.
Children don’t always understand why they are punished, but their parents know that what they are doing is designed (ultimately) to teach the child how to survive. If we can acknowledge that a human parent knows how to teach it’s children how to survive, then how much more so should we trust that God knows how to teach us to survive?