People who live in a democracy tend to think it is a very wonderful thing.
They are free to go where they want, when they want. They are free to speak
their opinions in public. They are free to express their disgust for things.
As a general rule, the only time that they are not free to do some
particular thing is if that thing would hurt someone or would infringe on
someone else's rights of freedom.
with freedom of choice, is similar to what God designed. God knew
that being able to make your own decisions was what would make people the
happiest. He created us because He loves us and chose to give us the
freedom to make choices. That was a gift God gave us. God didn't want to
force us to love Him and to love other people. If I had the ability
to force my children to love me I would choose not to use it. After all, if
I force my children to tell me they love me it would be as special to me as
if I bought myself a Mother's Day card and signed my sons' names to it. It
would be meaningless!
cause the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001. He
didn't make Hitler and his followers destroy lives the way they did. God
didn't tell Jim Jones to give poison to all the people who followed him.
God doesn't make us lie, swear, or eat a snack just before dinner.
God gave humans the gift of choice. People choose to do good or to do evil,
to do what is right or to do what is wrong. People choose to allow satan
promoter of evil. He wants to see people rebel against the way God
wants things to be. He is an instigator of hatred and of crime.
2 Cor 4:4 tells us, "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds
of them which believe not...." There is no doubt about it, satan
alive and well in the earth. Since God gave us freedom of choice we
are free to choose to mess around with evil. Sometimes, as a result
of those choices, some people become consumed by evil and do some really
There have been
times in the past few years when I have witnessed humans being cruel and
heartless toward other humans and have felt a small portion of the deep,
deep sorrow God feels when He sees His beloved children hurting each other.
He created us to live in harmony with each other. He wants us to edify each
other, help each other, and love each other as well as love Him. He
grieves when He sees His children hating each other instead of loving each
other. (As a mother I can relate to that feeling. I want to see
my sons helping each other, caring about each other, and loving each other
all the time. It hurts me whenever they are mean to each other.)
Fear and hatred
do not come from God. If every person in the world developed a close,
personal relationship with God there would be no more crime as we
know it. It just plain would not exist!! God calls us to
would not be creating any rifts in mankind that would result in more sin
entering the world.
trying to destroy the works of God. He is busy trying to keep people from
developing that personal relationship with God. He has created false
religions. He has promoted numerous things that tear apart the foundational
fabric of humanity, the family. He is a liar, and a good one! He can
disguise himself and the things he is selling in a cover that looks like
something wonderful. Just take a look at the things in your life that you
know to be bad. Do you watch too much TV? Do you watch violent or crude
shows and movies? How about supposedly "harmless" shows that portray people
being rude to each other and treating their friends and family badly?
Is pornography allowed in your home? What about video games that portray
people killing people? Do you use any swear words? Have you spoken
the Lord's name in vain? Do you spend too much money? Do you eat too much?
Do you fantasize about anyone other than your spouse?
I'm sure you
already know what particular things in your life are tricks of satan
your eyes off the Lord. It usually begins in a small and insignificant way.
Sometimes it is something that your parents teach you that they believed to
be all right. Sometimes things in someone's life that are evil come from
way back in their lineage and were handed down from generation to
generation. Often hatred for other beliefs or nationalities are of that
nature. Things that we choose to do right now will affect our great-great
grandchildren. The attitudes we choose can be passed on to our
children, to our grandchildren, etc.
The food we eat now can affect
the health of our unborn children, which can affect our grandchildren, etc.
The lifestyle we choose, the area we build our house, the way we treat the
earth, the way we treat our bodies, and most everything we do will have
some kind of affect on our present and future families as well as
non-relatives. Sometimes bad things that happen are a result of just
one person's bad choices. Other times they are a result of a group of
people's bad choices.
In the case of the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings in New
York in 2001 and the other, related attacks, the ones who planned and
executed the terrorist acts couldn't have done what they did just out of
plain human anger or revenge. They allowed themselves to be taken over by satan
and that was what hardened their hearts enough to commit those
horrendous crimes. The original hatred for Americans, democracy, and
whatever other things were the object of their hatred may have been taught
or encouraged by their parents and relatives. How many generations of hatred
does it take to build up to a hatred strong enough to destroy that many
Hitler hated certain races of people. Where did he get his
hatred? Why did his followers allow those things to happen?
Apparently they had their own hatred issues. God grieves to see these
things happening. God does have the power and ability to stop things like
that from happening. I imagine that sometimes He does. We will never know
how many awful things were stopped before they happened.
God does want to bless
those that seek to know Him and love Him and do His will. If you have read
the Old Testament you will find example after example of God coming to the
rescue of the Israelites when they screamed out to Him for help and
repented of their turning away from Him. As a matter of fact there
are a lot of things we can learn about God's involvement (or lack of
involvement) in bad things happening by reading our Bibles. On the other
hand, we generally don't see the overall end results of evil things that
happen. What if, because of the terrorist attacks I mentioned, millions of
people ended up getting saved that would not have been saved had that not
When something results in loss of life we are usually very
confused about WHY God allowed it to happen. We need to allow God to
choose what He will and won't do. We can't see what results one
person's death will cause. We also can't see the results that would
have been caused if that person had continued to live longer. I, for
one, am not going to second-guess the Creator of the universe.
Whenever something happens that wants to send me spinning out
of control I remind myself of Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things
work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called
according to his purpose." If I love God, which I do, every single thing
that happens in my life will come out for good. Not just some things, EVERY
SINGLE THING! God does not cause bad things to happen. It seems that
what God does is allow them to happen. One reason that bad things
happen is because He gave us all freedom of choice. He didn't just
give it to the people who will treat that gift responsibly, but to ALL.
Hebrews 2:17-18 says, "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made
like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high
priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of
the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is
able to succour them that are tempted." Bad things happened to
Jesus. Why? It was because of the sins we all chose to commit.
Yet, GREAT good came out of what happened to Him.
Sometimes, when bad
things happen to us, we are able to help others that are going through the
same type of thing. So, our misfortune may prevent or reduce the
severity of what others are experiencing.
It is entirely possible that
ALL bad things that happen are a direct result of bad choices people have
made. Are all diseases a result of bad choices in how we treat our
bodies going back to Adam and Eve? Do hundreds of years of bad diet
choices made by our ancestors result in new diseases?
God could stop bad things from happening.
So, where do you think He should draw the limit line? To stop bad
things from happening He has to force people to do the right thing.
Should He go so far as to force me to cook completely nutritious meals?
Should He give me extra money so I can buy meat that has no hormones in it?
No, wait, if hormones in meat are bad for us then He would have to force
ranchers to stop giving it to their stock. Plus, dairies would have
to get rid of their cows because the cows' waste products pollute the
ground and they emit methane gas so I would have to get my own cow to have
If pollution in vegetables is bad for our health then He should
remove all fume-emitting vehicles, industrial places that send pollution
into the air, and sprays of all kinds... hair spray, air freshener spray,
bug spray, etc. Gosh, I guess with the trucks, trains, planes, and
ships gone we will have to go back to making our own furniture, growing our
own crops, sewing our own clothes, etc. How far should God go to stop bad
things from happening?
Should He stop me from thinking bad thoughts about
someone who hurts one of my children? He would have to stop those
thoughts in another person who would carry through on their thoughts and
allow them to result in revenge, so isn't it fair that He stop me from
thinking those thoughts as well? Hmmmm.... this is getting
Personally, I'm convinced that God made a good decision to
allow us free choice. After all, He does give us all the help we need
to make right choices if we ask Him. It is too hard to do it on our
own. Besides, we don't see the end results of our choices until it is
too late. What we think is a good choice might be very very bad.
It is important to maintain a close relationship with Him in order to
insure that we have all the help we need in making right choices.
So, when bad things happen who should receive my anger? Who
is responsible? Let's examine some examples. What about something that
we can't pin on any one person? How about a famine? In my
logical mind I can come up with some different scenarios as to the cause,
but they are only guesses. Let's say a famine is caused by a drought.
I can go to the Bible and see where God warned the Egyptians that a drought
was coming and they needed to store up food for seven years worth of drought
God may be telling people to prepare for a disaster before
it happens OR God may be giving instruction to some people to pray about
something so it doesn't come to pass. Perhaps there are people that
are not doing their job of listening or of praying. So, in those cases
the famine comes because people make wrong choices.
I probably don't need to come up with more examples. You probably see
where I am headed with this. There is a way to take all bad things
that happen and boil them down to find that there is a possibility that bad
human choices are involved.
Now, let's imagine what the world would be like
if everyone began making right choices beginning right now. The main "right
choice" would be that we would all choose to love each other. We
would still be suffering the effects of wrong choices from the past, but
things would certainly get better. Hate crimes would disappear.
Things could get a little rougher in that some manufacturing practices might
stop because of concern for the environment and concern for people's
welfare. Some conveniences we have had might disappear. However,
we would be better able to get along because people would help people more.
What would happen to the economy? Some people would quit work to do
what God calls them to do. The rest of the people would have to give
out of their own storehouses to support the ones who were unable to get paid
for what they were doing. Then, people who have security-related jobs
would have to find other jobs because there wouldn't be burglaries, thefts,
etc.. Oh, I'm going to stop with my imagining. I've given you
enough food for thought. The bottom line is that I don't know exactly
why bad things happen.
Here are some scriptures to ponder:
"For my thoughts are not your
thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the
heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and
my thoughts than your thoughts."
"Trust in the LORD
with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In
all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not
wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil."
It isn't my job to understand all things. I must not allow confusion and
questions to create turmoil in my mind. I must not lose sight of the things
that I know that I know that I know! I have to go back to the basics of what
I know about God. I can't allow myself to lose sight of the goal because of
the obstacles that appear.
It is important that we learn more about
God in order to be at peace with things we don't understand. There are
not plain and simple explanations for a lot of things. In order to
have joy and peace in the midst of the bad things that do happen in this
world we have to turn to God. He can help us focus our attention
past the circumstances and give us the peace, strength, and wisdom to
get through them.
Over and over I find where I can minister to someone who is currently
going through a disaster that is similar to one I experienced in my own life. It
is at times like that when I praise God that I can show proof to that
person that the thing they are experiencing is not a fatal blow. You
see, God knows ahead of time that will happen. So, did He cause or
allow the bad thing to happen to me so I could minister to others or was
the bad thing a result of other things? I don't know. I am
going to rejoice in the outcome, however. Hebrews 2:18 says, "For
in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them
that are tempted." Even Jesus went through temptations so He
could show us that we can overcome them.
is important that we not get lost in despair. There is something each
of us can do to make a difference. I am reminded of a story about a
man walking on the beach that was littered with stranded starfish.
(Forgive me as I paraphrase this story.) Thousands and thousands of
starfish had gotten washed ashore in high tide and were left behind to dry
out in the sun. The man was systematically throwing starfish back
into the water. Another man saw what he was doing and questioned his
ability to make a difference due to the vast number of stranded starfish
littering the beach. The man said, as he threw another starfish into
the water, "I've made a difference to that one." I am only
one person in this big world, but it is important that I focus on the fact
that I have a job in the Kingdom of God. My responsibility is to find out
what He wants me to say, to do, and even to think. We can make a difference.
One person can make a small difference and millions of people can make a
massive difference. It is a choice.