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Questions People Ask the Church: God, Why Do Bad Things Happen?

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After 20 years of being a pastor, I've discovered that that there are five basic questions people both lost and saved ask of the church. The first and most significant question I've heard over those twenty years is, "Where is God?" The question is often expressed as a prayer of desperation and a cry for divine companionship.

The second significant question I am asked is, "Why do bad things happen?"

I'll never forget the day sitting in a hospital waiting room with a young couple from our church, as they waited for word from the sergeon. Their six-month-old baby needed open-heart surgery if she was going to live. I'd like to be able to tell you that God reached down with His mighty healing hand that day and performed a miracle. But things did not go well that day and their baby died. It was heart-wrenching as they brought that pale, lifeless little body out to the parents.

The mother was hurt and angry. In her eyes I could see that she wanted answers to unanswerable questions. She wanted that baby and God knew that. How could a good God who knows everything and has all power allow that baby to die?

Most people conceal their anger and frustration, even when their losses are gut-wrenching, but every minister and most lay people have faced the question, "Why do bad things happen?" A baby born with a terrible defect; a soldier killed in battle; a teenager paralyzed in an automobile accident; a child dying of lukeimia; Auschwitz and My Lai; and famine and war and plague and bloody revolution in all of it we ask how an all-powerful, good, and loving God can permit such horors.

The church is always at the cutting edge of the question. We need to give a reasonable answer. I can't give you all the answer you might like today, but we can start.

CON. Seldom does God use a person greatly who has not been hurt deeply. - A.W. Tozer

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