Why? Why does God let it happen? Why does God permit floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes or famines to inflict misery on the seemingly innocent people of the world? Why doesn’t God do something about the terrorists, the rapists, the murderers, the arsonists and the gangsters who brutalize victims and destroy their property?

The question becomes more persistent when evil touches our lives, our property or our loved ones. Why the cancer, the heart attack, the painful injury, the untimely death of a relative? Why the loss of a job, the failure of a marriage, the disappointment of a wayward son or daughter? The question in our hearts demands an answer.

Nothing in this life happens without God knowing about it. We know also that nothing happens unless God allows it. It cannot be otherwise if he indeed is the almighty ruler of heaven and earth. But that’s not the problem for us who wrestle with the question. The problem is why does he let it happen to ME?

When God dealt with his servant Job in the Old Testament, Job patiently accepted all the evil that God permitted Satan to inflict on his property and his beloved children. Job even accepted the painful boils that covered his body from head to toe. But there was one thing that Job couldn’t accept – the unanswered question, “Why?”

The amazing thing is that God never answered Job’s question. Yet he comforted Job. He simply called Job to trust. Job didn’t need to understand the why. All he needed was to know God’s faithful love and to find his comfort in that love.

God’s love is evident in his promise to all believers: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). God’s love has proven itself over and over again in our lives. An honest look back will reveal where God has blessed us in spite of evil, yes, even in spite of our sins. The greatest proof of his love is Jesus. We cannot forget how God took the hatred of the religious leaders and made it work for our good. By the crucifixion of Jesus our sins were atoned for, and all evil was conquered.

Whether our problems are physical or spiritual, whether they are big or little, God wants us to trust him to work them out. And when we are perplexed by the “Why,” we may be comforted by the assurance that God will make everything work out in a way that will be best for all of us who love him. When we look with faith, there really aren’t any evil things that happen to us, but only good things, made that way by our God who does it all.

The Rev. Keith Bilitz is pastor of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Alma City and St. Clair and Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Smiths Mill.

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