What is God doing?
Job had seven sons, three daughters, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 donkeys, and the Bible says he was blameless, upright, feared God and turned from evil.
One day tragedy struck, and the army of the Sabeans took the oxen and donkeys. A fire burned up the sheep. The army of the Chaldeans took the camels. A tornado killed his children. The next day his body is covered with boils. Job asks, “Why doesn’t God do something?” (Job 1-2)
It seems to me, that unlike much of our world, we are spared much of the world’s most frightening evils. Usually the evil we experience is of the harried, hassled, picked-on variety.
Then the day comes when we experience a personal tragedy, and all the little things pale in comparison: a family member dies, we experience the curse of cancer, we experience marital or family strife, or we are caught up in a pandemic and the quarantine has turned many other’s lives upside down physically, economically, spiritually and emotionally.
Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the evil in the world and our own pain and suffering, and, like Job, we ask, “Why doesn’t God do something?”
We know we live in a fallen world and that sin corrupts our lives on this earth. Like Job we still wrestle with all the questions. Is evil punishment for sin? Why must innocent people suffer? Why must anyone suffer? Is God really good? Has God created a really decent world? Might even God suffer with the failings of creation?
To these questions, Job never got an answer. Instead, God came to Job in a whirlwind and said, “I will question you and see what knowledge you have. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Have you commanded the morning since your days began? Have you comprehended the earth?”
In chapters 38 and 39 come an endless stream of questions about creation that no human could answer. And we, like Job, begin to get that sense of the awesomeness of creation and all we don’t understand.
To the question, “Why is there evil?” not even Jesus gave us an answer. But to the question, “What is God doing?” God answers over and over, “I am doing much, and continue to take care of you.” God is always present.
When He cast humanity from the Garden of Eden He left the Garden with them. God sends hope in the face of despair. He sent His son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for the sins of the world. God’s spirit lifts us up when the forces of evil work to crush us. God grants forgiveness when our own sinfulness is ready to destroy us. God promises eternal life so we need not fear death. God promises that on the day of His choosing evil will be completely destroyed and the New Jerusalem will be established for eternity (Revelation 21-22).
When the world was ready, when the time was right, God sent his Son to establish that evil cannot thwart the power of God to bring about His ultimate will. In the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we have a most vivid example of the power of evil. As Jesus hung on the cross, his enemies believed they had won.
Of course, God turned what could have been the greatest victory for evil into the greatest victory for good by raising Jesus from the dead.
There are many theological explanations for why there is evil in the world. Questions and reflections on evil should be debated, for the struggle can strengthen our faith. It may be, in a distant future, we shall have answers and explanations.
While we struggle with evil’s existence, let us not forget that God has acted decisively to do something about evil. God has promised to be present through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, which gives us the strength to have our greatest victories in life through the most difficult trials life will throw at us.
What does it mean to call Jesus Christ your Lord? What does it mean to call Jesus Christ your Savior? Have you given your life to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? If not, what keeps you from making this most important decision of life? If so, what does it mean to you to recommit your life to Him each new day?
How can faith in Jesus Christ help you through the pandemic and quarantine? Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we can have the victory in all of life’s trials, including COVID.
To find out more about Al Earley or read previous columns, see www.lagrangepres.org.