When God Doesn’t Stop Me
Why did God allow me to go through that horrendous ordeal? Why didn’t He stop my father from hurting me? Why didn’t He stop that drunk from killing my wife? Why did He allow me to go through so much suffering? Why did He allow me to get raped? Why does He allow suffering in the world?
These questions, and many more like them, are asked everyday by hurting people.
We are taught that God is good. So, if He is so good then why does He allow bad
things to happen to people when He could stop bad things from happening?
I was recently asked this by a good friend as she and I were talking about some of the terrible things that have happened in her life. She couldn’t understand how God could be so good and yet not have stopped all the bad things from happening to her. These tragedies produced devastating results in her life.
I responded by asking her if God had ever stopped her from doing bad things. Her answer was no. I then asked if it was God’s fault for all the bad things she has done to hurt others because He didn’t stop her. She answered no, that it was her fault.
And there we have the conundrum of free will and God’s sovereignty.
I believe the greatest risk that God ever took was giving man a free will. By giving man a free will God made the decision to live by man’s decision, even when it would hurt others or hurt Himself.
For God to intervene in everyone of our decisions by stopping us from making a bad decision He would be violating our free will. I don’t believe He will do that. I believe He warns us, puts obstacles in our path to deter us and will do whatever He can to get our attention, BUT I don’t believe that He will stop us from doing what we want to do.
Nor will he stop others from exercising their free will. And when others excercise their free will there’s the possibility that I am going to get hurt or affected by their choices. Just like when I exercise my free will it will affect others around me, for the good or the bad.
We were created to live our lives based on our love for God and love for others. We were intended to be our brothers keeper. We were not intended to live selfishly. That’s what sin does to us. It’s a disease that causes us to look out for ourselves and make selfish decisions that do not take the rights and feelings of others into consideration.
And God will allow us to sin. He will allow us to exercise our free will. Our decisions can have some devastating consequences. Just like in my friend’s life, and in my life and yours. I am sure that decisions others have made have negatively affected you as well.
Free will is a beautiful gift that God has graced humanity with. But any gift given can be used for purposes other than what it was intended for. Free will can be used to be a blessing to others or it can be used as a means of harming others.
Anytime that I think that my rights and needs are more important than someone else’s I will inevitably use my free will for my own selfishness. We see this played out every day in the news.
- One religious group thinks they are right and others are wrong so they persecute or even kill people.
- One man thinks his sexual needs are a priority so he rapes a woman.
- One person thinks they are entitlted to material things that they have not earned so they steal what they want.
- A person gets treated unfairly so they feel the right to cuss someone out and treat the offending party as less than human.
We see it day in and day out. We are both on the receiving end and the giving end.
God has given me a free will to show forth love and serve others. He will not force me to do it. I must freely choose to do it. Sometimes I do; sadly, sometimes I do not.
God doesn’t always intervene when something bad is happening to a person at the hands of someone else. But He does promise to see us through it and to use it to make us better. That’s hard to accept at times because we want a God that will get us out of every problem and situation that is unpleasant, violates us or causes us pain.
Yet, we ourselves continue to take the risk of free will. We marry the person we’ve fallen in love with even though there’s always a chance they could leave us, hurt us or betray us. We have children, not knowing how they will turn out, whether they will respect and honor us or disgrace and shame us by their behavior and choices.
We make friends with people and begin to share intimate details of our lives,
not knowing whether or not they will keep our secrets.
We cannot blame God when other people hurt us or abuse us and at the same time not allow Him to stop us from hurting or abusing others. We have to understand the role that free will plays in our dealings with our fellow humans.
We also must realize that all of our decisions carry consequences. God offers forgiveness but sometimes we have to live with the consequences our decisions bring.
God could stop a lot of things, and I wish He would, but if He did we would not be truly free. God has given us freedom of choice as a gift and He defends that gift even when that gift is being abused and used for selfish purposes.
I can’t blame God for not stopping others who have hurt me anymore than I can blame God for the times I have hurt others.