These past few months I have been reading a book called The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (With Answers) by Mark Mittelberg. I’m a little over half way through. The book contains ten questions about Christianity–everything from trusting the Bible, to heaven & hell and abortion and homosexuality.
So far, it’s been a great overview of questions I’ve had and questions I didn’t know I had. It’s been pretty insightful. And today I wanted to share a little bit of what I read earlier this afternoon and some reflection on it.
The chapter I was reading this afternoon was entitled: How could a good God allow so much evil, pain, and suffering—or does he simply not care?
This past semester, a pastor spoke about this very question during an Intervarsity large group meeting. So I kinda had an idea of what the chapter was going to be about. But I’m not really going to talk about the full answer. (If you want to know more about what the chapter said–email me about it and we can chat!)
Instead of going through the argument the author makes and the answer to this question, I wanted to point out a certain section of the chapter.
It’s all about what real love is and God’s real love for us.
Sometimes I tend to look over what love really is since we talk about it so causally everyday. It’s hard to think about love in its entirety and it all it encompasses: goodness, service, listening, kindness, perseverance understanding, and so much more.
This chapter pointed me to one awesome characteristic of love: it is freely chosen. Real love is freely chosen. It can never be forced.
That’s what this chapter explains. “Since God is love, he cannot force himself on anyone against their will. Forced love is not love…”
Since we have our free will as human beings, it’s one way that shows God’s love for us. We can to freely choose Him. And when we choose God, we are free in Him.
Love is free. Love is freeing. God freely loves us.
So, because of God’s love for us, we have free will, which in turn creates suffering and pain in this world as the chapter explains, but when we freely choose to accept Jesus and God’s love, it frees us from the bad in this world. Because knowing that God is the maker, the creator, the ultimate planner and the ultimate one who loves, He can turn the bad into good in ways we can see and in ways we cannot see.
It might take a while to see how His love fights certain sufferings or it might never be known to you why we suffer sorrow and trials. But in the end, it can make God seem all the more powerful because in His greatness, He can go beyond anything we can see or understand.
If His ways were understandable or palpable to us, would He be all that powerful? We need things that we don’t understand in order to realize God’s indescribable plan and indescribable love.
So, Lord, I pray that you will guide our free will, show us how to love like you do, and I praise you for the freedom and joy we find in your love. I pray for the trials and the troubles of my fellow bloggers. You know what’s on their hearts and I pray you guide them, give them strength and direct them toward your purpose for them everyday.