“Ok…so, allegedly, god loves everyone. So…why does that person have cancer and you do not? Or why did that man’s family die in a tsunami but yours is still here? Why were you born in America and they were born in Rwanda? It seems to me that god DOES NOT LOVE everyone…or he cannot do anything (or does not do anything) about life on this planet.”
We’re talking about theodicy, of course, or “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?” It’s an age-old question and hardly one that can be answered in this silly little blog. It’s also a question that any Christian worth their salt has asked, probably more than once. There are plenty of answers out there and, the truth is, most of them suck. It’s one of those mystery things and, much as I hate that, I have to accept it.
While I may not know why these things happen, I do think I have an idea of how God deals with them and that is through us. You see, I believe God does love everyone. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that God’s heart breaks when bad things happen to God’s creation. It is because of that love that God came to earth, as Jesus, and intervened in human history. It is a love so great that God-as-Jesus willingly sacrificed himself on the cross to demonstrate it for us. And, love can be incredibly influential.
For example, about 9 years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. Much as I would’ve liked it, there was no miraculous cure. There was never a visit to the doctor where, out of the blue, they couldn’t find any trace of the disease I was dealing with. But, because of God’s influential love, people went to school and came up with the therapy that arrested the advancement of my cancer and put it into remission. Because of God’s influential love, other people went to medical and nursing school and learned how to administer that treatment and provide the proper care. And, because of God’s influential love, friends and family showed up to give me the help I needed to get through all that.
I cannot believe in a God that set creation in motion and is now sitting back, watching. I believe in a God that engages the world every day, every hour, every minute, every second. And, how does God do that? Through humanity. God engages the world when I love my neighbor and act on that love. Every time I give the homeless dude on the corner a dollar, God is engaging the world. Every time I give someone a ride to the food pantry, God is engaging the world. Every time I speak up for people who persecuted and oppressed, God is engaging the world. In other words, as Hugh Hollowell likes to say, “God has a plan and that plan is us”
Hello, my name is Joel and I’m a Christian humanist.