People often ask the question, “Why didn’t God prevent this?” when something bad happens. Or “why is this happening?”
One of the aspects of God we see throughout Scripture is His allowance for people to make decisions for good or bad. It is clear from the beginning, God allowed humankind to make bad choices. However when they did so, there were always consequences.
Genesis 3 tells of how humankind made the worst decision of all. And because of that one decision, everything they knew changed. Evil was now part of humanity (verses 22-23). Their choice to sin broke their one-on-one relationship with God. They had to work hard for what they wanted now, instead of it being given to them and there would be pain in their lives. And the world they lived in would now work against them instead of with them (verses 16-19).
The Bible tells us God is all-knowing. In many places He tells people what will happen in the future. Each time it happens just as He said. The life of Jesus Christ alone fulfilled hundreds of prophecies. So, why didn’t and doesn’t God stop the bad from happening if He knows it ahead of time?
God is also a God of justice. While He allows people to make bad choices, He also makes them live with the consequences of their choices. The Bible is full of accounts of people, even those following God, who made a decision for evil and had to face the consequences. Consider David and Bathsheba’s love affair (2 Samuel 11-12:23).
Instead of stopping the bad from happening, God chooses to bring good out of the evil people choose to do. When the first people sin in Genesis 3, He promises the coming of the Messiah to redeem His people from their sin (verse 15).
A perfect example of God bringing good out of evil can be found in the account of Joseph (the son of Jacob) in Genesis 37-50. When Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, he had to suffer from their decision too. He spent years as a slave and then a prisoner of the king of Egypt. It seems unfair that Joseph should have to suffer for his brothers’ evil. Yet, God did not stop it.
Rather, God used the evil Joseph’s brothers had done and turned it into good. Eventually, Joseph is given another chance at life after God causes him to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams. In time, he becomes the second in command over Egypt. This position allows him to save his whole family from a
great famine and reunite him with them. His brothers ask for forgiveness and he forgives them.
While it is not possible to understand why God allows certain events to happen to certain people – murder, rape, disaster – we can be assured He will cause good to come out of it somewhere. That is part of Who He is. Even though we may have to bear the consequences for someone else’s choice, God still promises that in the world to come He will wipe every tear and take away every pain (Revelation 21:4).
Jesus reminds us in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Indeed, we do have trouble.
We are all responsible for the sins of this world. Everyday we make decisions which could potentially hurt others. They may have to live with the consequences of our sin. Or we may have to live with the consequences of theirs.
Either way, God allows each of us to choose. A decision for good. Or a decision for evil. A decision to give our lives fully over to Jesus. Or a decision to keep going the way we are. What’s your choice?