Wrestling with the problem of evil is such an important struggle. As much as I know the reasons for evil, why it exists, why it happens to me, why it happens to others, there are still moments when I can’t help but cry out ‘Why?!?”
There is so much suffering, pain, and evil in the world, and it is easy to question why God would allow any of it to happen. More then one friend has debated with me how it is possible for a loving God to allow so much pain.
And yet, the only way we can know there is evil, is by knowing what is good. I love C.S. Lewis’ quote
“…how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line…”
It so perfectly captures the idea that there has to be some standard of right for anything to be called wrong. If there is no absolute standard of right, then how can you call anyone’s actions wrong? They might be inconvenient for you, but what if they were best for the other person? How can that be wrong if there is no absolute standard?
Taking the debate on step further, when one says “How could God allow so much evil in the world?” Don’t we typically mean “How can God allow [all these other people to cause] so much evil in the world?”
If I am really honest with myself for a moment, the question should become… ‘How can God allow [me to cause] so much evil in the world?”
Because none of us are truly good. Only God is good. I am so woefully short of being good, that only by God allowing evil to exist in the world am I allowed to continue living. The pastor at my church made the statement this past weekend that it is only because of God’s grace that I don’t see the full impact of my sin on the world around me. The ripples of pain and hurt radiating out from my actions over and over again…
Mark Salomon, the lead singer of one of my favorite bands (stavesacre), captured this idea in the song “Why good people suffer”. Every time I listen to the song, the lyrics cut me deep.
i couldn’t tell you why good people suffer
i couldn’t tell you why the bad ones run free
God showers blessings
on the righteous and the wicked
i only know then, that covers me
and if i could just rid the world of all the evil within
would that include me?
i guess that would depend…
I am so grateful that there is grace even for such as me.
– William Wallace