I was asked tonight why God doesn’t end the evil now, why wait? I was asked why pray to a God who is going to let evil continue? “Why pray He’s not going to change His mind, He’s going to do whatever He’s going to do anyway!”
I feel like I failed miserably in my attempts to answer. I pray somehow, in my weakness, God would show Himself strong and speak truth in the ears of the ones with understandable questions.
As I sat tonight after reading about Elijah, calling on God in a set-up to prove nothing is impossible with Him and that He alone is God, and after reading the prophecy that some day, the lion will lie with the lamb, and after reading Peter’s letter to answer the questions about why and how long- he said God is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but wanting everyone to come to repentance. God is waiting for us. He is not slow in bringing about His promise to bring evil to an end, He is patient to draw us out first. After I read all this, and watched some of my questioners fall asleep as I read, feeling like my words were falling on sleeping ears, feeling like no awakening was getting in, I went out to the couch and watered the word I spoke with my tears.
And I called on God, the God who is God even over Connecticut. Even over sleeping ears and doubting hearts and questioning men. I cried:
Why shouldn’t I call on You Lord? Who should I call on? Should I call on no one? Shall I hide in my hobbies? Or TV? Or music? Or food? Or politics? Shall I stick my head in the sand and act as though nothing is happening? Shall I carry on numbly as though nothing is ever going to change? Shall I act as though I can save myself and live the good life while those around me fall victim to evil? Shall I call on politicians? Or philosophers? Shall I call on new laws or religious leaders? Shall I call on education or psychologists? Shall I call on philanthropists or musicians? Shall I call on neighbors to rally? Shall I become a hermit and flee from the troubles of the world? Shall I call on no one?
Who have I but you Lord? Even if nothing I think should change changes because I call on You, does that mean you don’t hear, or don’t care? Shall I not cry to you and ask you to change things and yet surrender to your goodness and sovereignty and acknowledge my brevity and fallenness?
Do I presume to know what you should do? Shall I not entrust myself to You who sees all things and knows all things and is working all things according to Your will? I choose to cry to You, not turn from You. I don’t understand. I can’t explain You. I can’t defend You. I can’t convince others of You. But I will call on You. Though evil seems to prevail, though the ones I love seem to doubt You, though I myself do not understand why Your will plays out this way, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! I will run to the only One who saves! I will choose to believe Your promise to one day make all things new through Christ who is your answer to the problem of evil.
And so I go looking for others whose faith will stoke the smoldering reed of mine. I pick up If God is Good on my Kindle and start reading:
“The cross is God’s answer to the question ‘Why don’t you do something about evil?'”- Chapter 21 of If God is Good by Randy Alcorn.“God may already be restraining 99.99 percent of evil and suffering… Given the evil of the human heart, you’d think that there would be thousands of Jack the Rippers in every city. Her statement stopped me in my tracks. Might God be limiting sin all around us, all the time? Second Thessalonians 2:7 declares that God is in fact restraining lawlessness in this world. For this we should thank Him daily.” – Chapter 30 of If God is Good by Randy Alcorn.
“Behind almost every expression of the problem of evil stands an assumption: we know what an omniscient, omnipotent, morally perfect being should do. But we lack omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection- so how could we know? We should rescue ourselves as judges. As finite and fallen individuals, we lack the necessary qualifications to assess what God should and should not do. Not only do we know very little, even what we think we know is often distorted.- Chapter 35 of If God is Good by Randy Alcorn