So many ask why good people suffer along with the unrighteous? How do we come to an answer to this question?
[Darris McNeely] We received an email from a Beyond Today viewer who must've been pondering a lot of the questions that have come up as a result of the latest natural disaster in North America, Hurricane Sandy, which devastated regions of New Jersey and New York with the very powerful hurricane that went ashore there a few weeks ago. We didn't really get a question, but a point of discussion from this viewer as he looked at such a problem as this and other bad things that happen to good people. And he said, "I do not believe God is capable of making bad things happen, He only allows. Mostly we are experiencing consequences of our own bad judgment." He's speaking to peoples' questions and concerns about why the suffering and why the righteous and the wicked suffer together - especially at a time of a great natural catastrophe such as a hurricane on the force and scale as Sandy.
[Steve Myers] The hard part is that's a huge question to try to put in just a little capsule of just a moment or two that we have today. But I think it bears thinking about the question of why does God allow this and what's the purpose of it? Is God even capable of sending suffering? Is that His intention? And those are important questions I think that we all have to face in our life.
[Darris McNeely] The answer probably is far beyond us here today, but there's one statement from scripture that at least we can put up to consider. It's in Genesis 18:25 when Abraham has a discussion with God as God is about to deal with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, the well-known story there in the Bible. And they're negotiating over, well, God would you destroy this whole area if you could only find 10 righteous people is what it came down to. And God said, well, no, if you could find that many I won't do it. But as we know in the story, he couldn't find even 10 people. But Abraham put the question to God in verse 25, he said, "Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked so that if the righteous should be as the wicked. Far be it from you. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" In that question, Abraham asks - perhaps is the starting point to come to some answers to this age old question of why suffering. Can the Judge of all the earth do right? Can God do right? Does He always do right?
[Steve Myers] And that's a rhetorical question, isn't it?
[Darris McNeely] Is it.
[Steve Myers] Because God does do right. I think one of the challenges when we ask this question, why suffering, is we forget our perspective on what this world is all about. We only focus on life, physical life, right now, here and now. And that's a misconception when we only focus on that because that's not the way God looks at things. He doesn't look at just the physical things. He's looking forward to something much greater than this physical world. And so we've got to look at things from God's perspective and see that this life, this world, this physical existence that we have is not what it's all about. God's got a bigger plan.
[Darris McNeely] He does and though He has set in motion on this earth the natural forces such as a hurricane, a tornado, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other natural disasters that do take lives, that do create a great amount of destruction, nonetheless it is God's earth that He has created. And God is ultimately responsible and ultimately He is in charge of all that does take place. And He does allow things to happen. But in His allowing certain things to happen here or there, who are we to say that too is not a part of God's greater purpose and plan even for people in this physical life? And perhaps for those of us who observe this, even people on the ground in the affected areas, the real important need is to turn toward God for answers to deal with even the suffering that comes about rather than turn away from God and blame.
[Steve Myers] Maybe a thought that just came to my mind as we were considering this is Romans 8:28. Maybe this should be part of the question too. That says all things work together for good to those who love God. So why suffering? Well, we might not be able to answer that specifically, but somehow God says and promises He can even work all of those things for good. So can we look forward to that and see how God brings about good even from the suffering that we might be surrounded with?
[Darris McNeely] I think we can and we must and one must always look to God and seek those answers even in the midst of a trial and at the time of suffering to learn to come to know really that Judge of all the earth and His righteousness.
[Steve Myers] That's BT Daily. We'll see you next time.