The Christian living site of Pastor Jim Piper, Jr.

Why Do I Allow Such Evil?

August 06, 2012 :: Jim Piper

It doesn't happen much but God woke me up. Laugh if you want but when it happens, even this soft American pastor knows it's time to get up and listen. I woke up tossing and turning while my mind was still hearing the frustration and questions of three friends. I guess I did not realize that simply listening was not enough this time. The Lord is asking me to respond.

The first question is from a new friend of mine, a young person who has been shaken by the brutal murders. She has asked, "Can God stop such things and if He can why does He allow such evil?"

My second friend's adult child is questioning the existence of God. He has asked, "What do I do?"

My third friend's question has come in the form of a statement. His psychology demands performance and he feels the stress and expectations to meet the financial needs of his family though all no longer live under his roof. He's question: "How did I get in this place and is this what life is all about? I feel unappreciated and used!"

I believe I am to answer these questions no matter how short or lacking the answers might be. But what I have to say is as honest as I know how to be at this moment and time. I will not address each question individually. Instead, my hope is to address life and perhaps you may find some foundation to build upon.

The story of God found in Scripture makes a lot of sense when one honestly cracks open the book and becomes a student. Even then, many questions remain and some of the crazy events found within its covers leave us scratching our head. But that’s all right with me because I understand this concept: if there is a God–creator and He is Infinite that makes me finite. And if I am finite, I will not be able to grasp all answers to life’s questions at least on this side of eternity. But we are not without hope.

One thing is for sure. Good answers are not always pleasant to hear and many preachers are liars. Some of the most famous preachers in the United States spread wisdom about health, wealth, and success. They use spiritual principles as building blocks for creating a sense of heaven on earth and they distract many away from the fundamental questions of life. Many make a lot of money and a name for themselves while dodging the real issues.

Scripture makes it clear that God made humankind with amazing abilities and we are still discovering what He allows us to see and understand. He has given us the powerful ability to choose.

Learn and embrace the truth and then you will see and find that our only lasting hope is in God. Choice is something God gave you. You will fight for it and you will die fighting for it. This desire for freedom is built into our DNA and it comes with a price. The price for misuse is devastating and this is what we have underestimated.

The God that gave us choice lives inside and outside of time. He has more power than we can imagine and there is nothing beyond His reach. He is strong in His ways and you will break your will against His unyielding power. He is all loving yet unchangeable. He gives us power and holds us accountable.

Bottom-line is that when God made us with the power to choose, He also holds us responsible for what we do with this power. When we as the human race fell short of God’s standards for goodness, we allowed evil to corrupt our power. We incorporated evil when we thought it would serve our purposes and we complain when we can’t live with the consequences.

Make no mistake, God deals with us as individuals, leaders, and as a whole. Every one of us will be held accountable in this life and in the life to come. That’s not a “Hell, fire and brimstone” line, that’s the honest truth. Each of us as individuals, leaders, and nations will be held accountable for how we use our power.

Wait a second! You say that man is capable of great good and you reject all this religious rhetoric. Let’s get something straight. I’m not a fan of religion and even my colleagues get upset about my statement because they want me to define what I mean by “religion” reminding me that the book of James refers to true religion. If my friends invested more time in the streets they would know what we are talking about when we say that we hate religion. But that’s a topic of man-made corruption for another day.

I am not trying to split hairs in this early morning writing. I’m attempting to cut to the chase. There is a God; he gives amazing ability to His creation; we have and continue to misuse it and we will be held accountable. Have I made this clear yet?

More importantly, there is hope. Our hope is in God, the good God of the Bible – the just God – the one who cannot be fooled by our clever words and philosophy. He does not create without giving life and life is not life without freedom. You and I are still free in the arena that matters most – our ability to live or live without God.

We are no longer free to live in a world without evil, sickness, pain, and death. The alternative is no longer an option. But we are free to choose God and to learn how we can live by walking in His Spirit. He still speaks today. He still leads today. His goodness has not been completely removed from us. He is nearer than you think.

He has already stopped evil. It will not continue its reign on the other side of this life. This life is evil’s final curtain call. This is her encore. This is her glory. This is her fame. This is all she has and listen, she wants to go out in style!

Your problem is that you are investing all your affections in this life and on this planet. There is a different mindset, an eternal kingdom, a reality, and a God that is trying to get your attention. No, He didn’t take these lives so that… no, He was not powerless to stop it… yes, when He gives, He gives. You have the power to choose. What will you do with that power?

My dear friends, God hears your prayers. Do not be anxious but cast all your worries upon Him because He cares for you. Pray for your children; love them. Not by giving them everything they want because their appetites will never be satisfied but by becoming the man or woman who has learned to live in the freedom of God’s Spirit. Be directed by Him. Be strong and courageous and full of courage.

My dear friends do not sell your soul to the devil. Do not compromise your friendships, your family, and your values for the sake of the company store. Do not work yourself to death. Instead, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where your efforts will live with you in eternity instead of get wasted here on earth. Don’t get drunk. You’ll only regret it. You’ll say stupid things, do stupid things, and die too soon. Instead, use what God gave you that is wholesome: prayer, tears, laughter, friends, and a will to seek out the mysteries of God.

My dear friends wake up. This is not heaven. You live in a place full of darkness but God has not left us. He has remained so that we would not be devastated. He is bringing in a new heaven and a new earth in the last of all days. Until then, if you are going to live, use your freedom to live for God. If you are going to die, use your freedom to die with God in your heart.

Sincerely,
Jim

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