On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen students and staff members and injuring seventeen others.
On September 28, 2016, Hurricane Matthew formed in the Atlantic Ocean.
It was the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Felix in 2007, and also caused catastrophic damage and a humanitarian crisis in Haiti, as well as widespread devastation in the southeastern United States…killing at least 603 people and cost over $15 billion in damages.
On April 23, 2018, a man drove a rented van and sped through the North York City Centre business district, deliberately targeting pedestrians, killing 10 and injuring 16, some critically.
October 1, 2017, during a Jason Aldean concert at a festival in Las Vegas, a mass shooting occurred…killing 58 and injuring hundreds more.
LeBron James leaving Cleveland again!
The single biggest obstacle for seekers is the issue, “Why a good God would allow evil?”
According to a Barna study, the #1 question people want to ask God is this: “Why is there suffering in the world?”
Seventeen percent (17%) of people want to ask God that question.
Think about it for a minute…wouldn’t you agree that only villains and bad people should get broken bones and cancer…only cheaters and crooks should get Parkinson’s.
If you’ve ever struggled with the idea that a “good God” would not allow evil…you’re not alone.
A lot of people are stumped, saying, “I want to believe, but...”
Job’s life was filled with pain and suffering (MIT).
We face pain and tragedy on a daily basis in our lives (MIM).
So why doesn’t God stop pain and tragedy?
Our text today reveals 5 principles about why God doesn’t stop pain and tragedy in our life.
Take your Bible and turn with me to the Old Testament book of Job.
· Job 1-2
Division 1: God is not the creator of evil/pain/tragedy (v.
God is not the creator of evil and pain and tragedy.
When we come to the book of Job, we are reminded that God allows Satan to attack Job (Job 1:6-12).
But be clear about one thing, God did not do the evil.
He did not create the evil that attacked Job.
But when we read Job 19:1-6, it sounds as if Job is blaming everything on God.
The issue here is that we have to understand how to read the book of Job.
Job is considered “wisdom” literature, and it is very different from the narratives of the Old Testament and the New Testament.
First of all, it is written in Hebrew poetry, filled with images, parallelism, and emotion.
The driving purpose of wisdom literature is to get you to “think.”
Now the context of Job 19 is it comes immediately following Bildad’s speech in Job 18. Bildad was one of Job’s three friends…who come to console their friend, but who end up being miserable comforters.
Earlier in the book, Bildad seems to bring hopeful encouragement to Job (Job 8:1-7, 20-22).
But here, he brings a condemning speech, focuses on the fate of the wicked.
Job 19 comes as a response to Bildad’s words.
Job begins by asking, “How long will you torment me?” (Job 19:1).
But then in verse 6, Job says...
Has God indeed wronged Job?
Is God able to do evil?
Everything that God ever made was good.
Go back in your mind’s eye to Genesis 1:31
Everything that God had made…and it was very good.
This is the God we serve…a good God.
God is all-powerful, He can do everything that is meaningful.
But there are 2 things that God cannot do.
First, God cannot make himself cease to exist, and second He cannot make good evil.
If you want to add a third, God cannot make a mistake.
The problem is that sometimes we see the things that God does and WE consider them to be evil.
And inside, they may be painful…and sometimes hurt, but in the long run, God intends them for our good.
Consider for a moment a bear trapped in the woods.
Someone has put out a trap and snagged themselves a great big black bear.
(Recently Stephanie and I went to the Outer Banks, and on the way we saw not “deer crossing signs” but “bear crossing signs.”
Oh my!) Anyway, a man has caught a bear.
You happen upon the bear.
You want to release the bear, but you can’t just walk up to black bear…it’ll chew your head off.
So you take out your tranquilizer gun…and you shoot him in the hip.
The bear thinks you’re evil and are trying to hurt him.
Then you get down on the ground and start wrestling that bear trap off its paw.
Every time you move it, it hurts the bear.
It tears the skin.
Blood comes forth.
On and on until finally you release the bear.
The bear does not see your “pain” as a means of helping until much later.
The same is true with us and the pain and suffering we often experience in life.
Let’s consider for a moment the two types of evil.
There really are 2 types.
The first type of evil is what you might call “moral evil.”
Moral evil comes about from our choices.
We choose to do something evil in this world, and the result is someone else is hurt.
If a person pulls the trigger of a gun, slaps their spouse, abuses a kid, or whatever it might be…that is “moral evil.”
The second type of evil we experience is “natural evil.”
That is, things like tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts, and the like.
The people who were devastated last year with Matthew experienced natural evil.
Those events were not caused by our choice (moral evil) but rather by nature.
The affect of sin on our world affected not only our morality (our choices to commit sin), but it also affected the natural world.
Paul writes it this way,
The source of evil in the world is not God’s power…but a result of man’s sinfulness.
Our freedom to commit sin is the “cause” of evil in this world.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, sin infected our world.
The reason we have natural disasters and birth defects, murderers and liars is because of mankind’s freedom to commit sin.
So the question might be posed: Why didn’t God make a world without human freedom?
If there is no ability to hate, to suffer, to choose…then there is no ability to love.
Without choice, there is not love…there are only robots.
Creating a world where there is no free will and no possibility of sin is a self-contradiction…and that opens the door to people choosing evil over God…with pain/tragedy as the result.
Because God loves us, because wants us to love him, because God is good…God gave us a choice.
And let’s be honest…the overwhelming majority of pain in the world is caused by our choices to kill, to slander, to be selfish, to stray sexually, to break our promises, to be reckless.
Lee Strobel, I believe it was, says that 95% of the evil in this world is based on our own choices…the other 5% from natural disasters, etc.