Most of us have heard the questions:
“If God is good, then why does He allow….
It seems that God could not be good if he permitted these things to go on. How then, do we expect the world to accept our claim that God is good in light of these atrocities all around us?
Some point to the fact that the bible says God is good. They need no more testimony than this. The bible says it. They believe it. Explanations aren’t required.
I read a book titled “Intercessory Prayer” by Dutch Sheets a while back. The first chapter of the book completely changed the way I saw God’s involvement in our lives. I’ll summarize the main point: After the creation of man, God gave Adam authority (dominion) over His creation. That dominion extended to all the affairs that happened on earth from that time forward, up to the present time, and extending to the end of the world. In delegating responsibility to us to run the show down here, He gave us a very important thing—free will.
God did not create a race of robots, programmed to follow His will, perfectly. He created us with the capacity of choice and He always honors the choices we make. Even when we choose to do unspeakable evil to others. The minute He stepped in and forced us to do anything, or stopped us from doing anything, we would become programmed beings, devoid of free will. We would become like robots. But we aren’t robots. We are free moral agents.
The mistake we can make is to assume that God approves of our choices in allowing them to be carried out. The fact that He permits our acts to be carried out is not because He approves of them, but because He values free will so highly. He refuses to interfere with our free will, in spite of the fact that it causes so much pain and suffering. Our free will was established in eternity. It has serious consequences and it will never be violated.
Satan has many agents who carry out his plan of evil. Demons, fallen angels, and evil men all exercise their free will in cooperating with Satan’s plans. God also has agents that carry out His will on earth. God sends angels and He speaks to us through his Spirit in an effort to find humans who are willing to help establish His kingdom. Neither Satan nor God interferes with the exercise of free will. They merely recruit those who are willing to exercise their own free will to advance a particular agenda.
How valuable is our part in bringing God’s will to pass?
The psychotic man with the plan to bomb an elementary school is free to carry out his plan. God will never take the bomb out of his hand. But God may send an angel to give another man a dream about the bomber and inspire him to pay the bomber a visit. On the day they meet, the bomber receives deliverance and healing through the second man’s obedience to the gospel. The plan to bomb the school never becomes a reality. Did God interfere? No. He used an angel to inspire one man to exercise his free will to oppose the free will of the other man.
Not long ago, I had a dream in which I saw a family stranded on a country road in a blizzard. In the dream, I knew God would not send help until someone prayed for them to be rescued. I began praying and petitioning God to send help. Suddenly, my wife woke me up and asked who needed help. She heard me praying out loud and knew something was up. I didn’t know I was praying out loud. We knew God wanted them to be helped, so we both began praying. Some would find this an odd situation and ask, “Why didn’t God just help them?” We know that God wanted them to be rescued. It was His will for them to be found, but because He has delegated authority to us to run the affairs down here, He needed someone to ask for His assistance, because he doesn’t interfere unless we invite him. Our authority over the affairs of the earth is that great and the necessity of prayer is that important.
Earlier this year, there was concern about a major earthquake hitting the west coast. A number of friends joined the called to speak peace to the earth and settle the fault, declaring a gentle release of pressure with no devastation to buildings or life. The prophesied day of arrival for the quake came and went, peacefully. I believe the prophecy was valid, but I also believe its intent was to call believers to intercede and change the outcome.
I’ve been trying to run my social media accounts more like the way God “runs” things down here on earth. He lets people do as they please and He doesn’t generally interfere unless he is asked. I’m trying to let people post what they want, in spite of the fact that I don’t agree or appreciate some of it. I try to let people comment as they see fit, with little editorializing, deleting or attempts to control content. Like God, I greatly value free will and I want to allow people the freedom to either obey or reject God’s will, without forcing them to comply with my perception of it. Free will comes at an expensive price. But I think it’s worth it,