Thai Seventh-day Adventist Church of Sourthern California
“HOW COME GOD ALLOWS SO MUCH SUFFERING?”
GODTALK #9, 6/1/16
A. 2 AIRPLANES–1 crashes into a building in NY, kills 3000 people, another one lands safely on the river, not one person dies. Everybody is praying on both planes. Both planes are filled with good people, who deserve to live. Why does God save one, not the other? My sister-in-law has twins, one lives, one dies. Did God decide? Tsunami, 250,000 died and a pastors said, “This was God’s punishment on people.” Is God like that?
B. God tells us to do whatever we can to stop suffering. So why doesn’t He? He has more power, so why doesn’t he use it? Why let Mother Teresa do all the work? “It’s your turn, God; we could use some help here.”
C. Elie Wiesel–a Jew, 14 years old when captured and taken to a German camp during WWII. Three guys tried to escape, they got caught and the Germans hung them while forcing thousands of Jews to stand and watch. The two men, who were heavy, died instantly. But the boy was too light, the noose wouldn’t tighten, so he hung there choking and screaming for 30 minutes. One Jew cried out, “Where is God?” How can a good God, who has so much power, not do more, answer more prayers, or at least stop children from being hurt?
D. Remember Daniel 3 — Story of Daniel and his three friends. The king of Babylon says, “Bow down to my image or I’ll throw you into a fiery furnace.” They tell Him—“Our God is able to save us. BUT EVEN if He does not, we want you to know, O King, we will not serve your gods.” But you don’t think they wanted to say to God: “God, destroy these people. Send fire down from heaven. God, you created fire, use it now. You did it for Elijah and fire came down. Show them who is God.” Nothing happens. But it doesn’t matter—they will not give up on God.
II. THE BIG FIVE:
#1—EVEN GOOD PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SUFFER. My father was walking on a sidewalk, when somebody driving a truck, drove up on the sidewalk and killed him. Somebody called me with —“Where was the Fence? Supposed to be a fence around good Christians! Christians are not supposed to suffer like that. He was a Christian, he was a pastor, he was a missionary, he helped everybody, and he paid tithe.” No, even good people are going to suffer.
#2–-GOD IS ONLY GOOD—ALL THE TIME! Some people want God to do more miracles every day; God has to prove Himself every day, or they will stop praying and believing in God. But it hurts God, if you only believe when He does miracles and go away if God does nothing.
Bible says--ROMANS 8:32 “If God didn’t spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—won’t He also give us everything else?” God says—“I gave you My Son! What more do I have to do? That should settle it once for all!”
#3—SUFFERING COMES FROM SATAN, NOT GOD. In Matt. 13, a farmer sowed wheat, somebody snuck in, sowed weeds. Both came up, the good and the bad. People thought–both good and bad–came from God. But Jesus says--Matt. 13:28 “‘An enemy has done this.’” A Filipino friend called me; he was dying, had liver cancer. Struggling with his faith in God for others had been healed, but not him. I had to tell him–it’s not God. It’s science. 50 years ago, everybody with cancer died. Now we can heal some cancers, but not liver cancer yet. Don’t start blaming God now. The difference between people who are healed, or not healed—is not the heart of God! It’s the difference in how far science has come!
#4–GOD IS A GOD OF FREE CHOICE. God doesn’t want anybody to be forced. It’s the Beast that forces people. If God is going to give the good guys free choice, then He has to give the bad guys free choice too. If the second you get baptized, there’s a red Ferrari in the driveway, and we can hear God’s voice, and God answers every prayer; during earthquakes everybody dies except Christians – then people are forced to believe. So with His heart breaking, God has to allow free choice., and He has to work in the shadows.
#5–Consequences. My friend, Pastor Sam, chaplain at La Sierra University, told his little boy—“Never put your hand in an oven!” One day he did it anyway and got burned. I saw the picture of a very sad little boy! But he will never do that again! When we get to heaven God is not going to take away free choice. So how can He make sure sin never comes up again, so that heaven will be safe; no police, no jails, no hospitals, no cemeteries. We can learn here.
III. WHAT CAN WE DO?
A. Watch God make good out of bad.
· Marble–Artist had an amazing piece of marble and it was the chance of a lifetime. He began carving on it. But someone came in and with a knife, slashed across it. It was ruined. The artist looked at it for a week, then began to carve again but this time he used the scar and made something beautiful with it!. That’s what God is able to do.
B. Pray for Heaven to come soon.
· Rev. 21:4 “God shall wipe away all tears, no more death, no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain.” Some people are rich and can make a whole disease go away in Africa. But even those of us who are less rich can do something.
· Rick Reilly, in Sports Illustrated, wrote one article that for $20, you can buy specially treated mosquito nets that when a mosquito hits it, it dies. One million die in Africa every year. He has already has raised $40 million for 2 million nets and has saved millions of lives. That’s what Jesus will do at the Second Coming — make all suffering go away. NO MORE!
C. Know that God is always with you.
· Ps. 23:4 “I will fear no evil, for Thou art WITH ME.”
This is GODTALK, and we hope you’ll come back for the next one! God bless you!
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