Non-believers want Christians to explain how God can help them find parking spots in answer to their prayers, but is not answering the more serious and urgent prayers. A mother prays heart-felt sincere prayers for her starving child, yet 33,000 children die each day from hunger and disease. Non-believers hear about God rescuing cats out of trees, but this same God does not warn the people of Sri Lanka that a tsunami will kill 250,000 of them unless they move to a safe place. The non-Christian also wonders why Christians seem mostly untroubled and unbothered by this contradictory of God answering little prayers and not answering big prayers.
Often Christians give bad answers to good questions. The problem of good and evil in our world coupled with God’s attributes of greatness and goodness have been debated for centuries. The argument states that either God is not good and allows unjust evil or God is not great enough to step in and put a stop to human suffering. A bad, trite answer says that God can do what He wants and is always right.
My understanding of God is that He can do what He wants because He is God. God created and wanted a perfect world. God’s love gave humankind the freedom to love Him or not to love Him. Our freedom brought a stain of sin into our world. There are times God intentionally steps into our world with protection from suffering and other times God allows our sin to run its evil course. When God allows suffering, He is more grieved than the mother of a dying infant.
Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, a Christian relief charity based in the United States has written a book titled, “The Hole in Our Gospel”. He shares his personal journey as an uncaring Christian in a world of suffering. We will be going through his book as a series of messages beginning the end of August.
I thanked the person who made the Facebook post and was one of the atheist’s critiquing Christians. Although, we disagree radically, I think his responses were spot on and help us see our shortcomings so we can better proclaim the message of Jesus Christ in all its truth and beauty.
1 Peter 3:15-16 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.