“… ‘the problem with evil’ is not something we will “solve” in this present world, and that our primary task is not so much give answers to impossible philosophical questions as to bring sings of God’s new world to birth on the basis of Jesus’ death and in the power of His Spirit, even in the midst of, ‘the present age of evil.’ ” NT Wright
I come before you like David in the Psalms, throwing out my questions, my pain, my confusion knowing God can handle it. And like David I end, saying, but I trust in you God, you are my God. I write this not because I want to accuse or be controversial, but I want more of Jesus. I want to know God. I want to press into him by asking, seeking, searching. I do not want to settle for what is easiest, or status quo Christianese answers, as that just becomes a barrier to discovering all that God may have for me, for you.
Everything I once believed is all up in the air and I am confused. I find myself buried in the scriptures hammering this out with God. It isn’t as if I question my savior’s love or I doubt my salvation, rather I wrestle with death, with suffering, with evil, with pain in this broken earth. How does evil happen in the sight of a loving God?
I have heard it all.
I know the positions taken on this issue. And I used to never care. I never really pressed into God’s sovereignty or wrestled with this theological concept because I did not know where to begin.
Here is the thing, life has become difficult for me as I wrestle through suffering of my own and others.
Then, on top of it all, my aunt passed. Suddenly, life felt in upheaval. And everywhere I turn, people respond to my pain, my questions, my longing for justice and they offer me two words, God is sovereign.
Day after day it wore me down until I decided to sit and confront the frustration welling up within me. I am frustrated because my head and my heart can’t hold the searing pain of loss and coat it over with religious words, “God took your aunt.” I’m sure I have said those words to others in a broken season. For that I am sorry I ever did. But now that it is me sitting in my own grief, I am struggling with it.
My thin theology, my thoughts on the sovereignty of God have all been thrown out the window. Many nights around the dinner table are sat with Branden hashing out my questions and confusion.
Because I lay in bed thinking,
God kills people?
God brings evil?
How does horrific evil function on earth with a sovereign God?
I ponder, is there a difference between God knowing the day or our death and ordaining the day of our death?
Any of you wrestled over this too?
So I come to you today to lay this before you, to admit I have no conclusions, to wrestle, to talk, to challenge, to ask the tough questions and to love one another better in seasons of pain.
So I ask, why is it acceptable for us, as Christ followers to give the God’s sovereign answer in pain, suffering, in death?
And when we throw this religious line out, do we know what we even are saying?
Think, when we use these words do we, for ourselves know what we really think about this?
Because if we are going to give that answer for pain, suffering and death, then it must be applied to all evil.
Because death is evil too, right?
To the orphan starving to death in the war-stricken land,
Do we look into their hungry eyes and simply respond, God is sovereign?
To the girl who was sexually abused,
Do we look into her cold, glazed eyes and simply respond, God is sovereign?
To the children who were beaten over and over again by their father growing up,
Do we look into their broken eyes and simply respond, God is Sovereign?
To the wife whose husband just walked out on her and the family,
Do we look into her pain-filled eyes and simply respond, God is sovereign?
To the child who is diagnosed with a deadly disease,
Do we look into their fearful eyes and simply respond, God is sovereign?
To the couple who can’t conceive,
Do we look into their empty eyes and simply respond, God is sovereign?
To the new parents who lost their child by miscarry,
Do we look into their confused eyes and simply respond, God is sovereign?
When we simply throw out, God is sovereign on open wounds it burns. It just does.
How do we see horrific evil, death, pain and suffering and wrap it up so nicely with, God is sovereign?
It doesn’t sit in my soul that easily.
Because yes, we have a sovereign God, but it does not console the hurting souls facing the injustice of the dark, broken earth we inhabit.
It does not ease the pain
It does not soothe a sufferer’s soul.
For some it may, but for me, it is what I am wrestling with- a God who holds the whole world in his hands, yet an evil that roams the lands of this earth destroying lives, hearts, precious people, as God watches?
To utter that God’s sovereign amidst evil sometimes feels like we place the evil on God.
But Satan is the liar, the thief, the killer, the accuser, the destroyer.
He, satan is the prince of the power of the air. (Ephesians 2:2)
Evil, death, suffering ravishing the earth and then, saying God is sovereign so quickly is hard for me to swallow because it just does not seem that simple to me.
Because when people tell me that religious line, where does fighting for justice fit on this earth, in this plan? Do we become passive observers to pain, suffering, death, and evil all because God is sovereign?
Life is messy. Not sort of messy….really messy.
The Christian life is not any less messy, in fact, it may be messier.
Life is not compartmentalized in a perfect little box where quick theological answers tie evil, pain and suffering into pretty bows.
I think we would prefer that be the case because it would be easier.
It is easier to give a God is sovereign answer than walk in the thick trenches of life carrying one another’s burdens.
We need to study, wrestle and ask if giving the “sovereignty of God” answer the one we think is fitting before we carelessly throw that line into the faces of broken souls.
Sometimes I think as we wrestle with this theological thing called sovereignty and we really just need to become better weepers.
Because, God in all his sovereignty still weeps with the brokenhearted…not impose his theology when we are victims of evil, death, and brokenness.
Maybe the sufferer, the griever, the abuse victim does not really need to hear our position on the theology of God’s sovereignty but in fact see our tears as we weep next to them.
Maybe we need to better weepers and not theologians.
Better givers of our time with our listening ears than our fix-it mentality.
Maybe we need to just love with our actions rather than our words.
In the end, I have reached no conclusions or answers. At the end of the day, I find my comfort in the cross, the resurrection.
Amidst my confusion, my wrestling I still can proclaim, “O death where is your sting?”
When questions overwhelm my mind over the way this good and evil tension works on earth and my heart is drowning in sorrow, I can find hope in the empty tomb.
Jesus is alive.
Tonight as I go to bed, I cry, God, I do not understand your ways or why sometimes it feels satan is winning. I do not understand your sovereignty. I am confused. But with a thankful heart I rejoice that death could not hold you down. When hell was my forever destiny you loved me enough to die in my place.
I am thankful, you Jesus, are the resurrected King.
I trust in you God, you are my God.
** Would love for you to join in. Do you relate? Do you every asked these questions? Where are you in this journey? Lets hear it! 🙂 **