subject comes up in almost every conversation
when ministering to others, and it is a very difficult task to try
and give adequate answers. I would not be honest if I were to say
I have never doubted the goodness of God, from time to time, and
to question His judgment and His love. There have been times I have
been angry with God and have even entertained moments of throwing
up my hands and walking away wondering if there even is a
God. Then to add insult to injury, how many of us seem to run into
“Super Christian” when we are at our lowest point? You know, the
bouncy jovial person with the big “SC” stenciled on the front of
the shirt, who sets us straight with the unshakable faith they have
are blessed beyond measure in this country
and many, many people have not really had their faith tested. I
heard a local pastor say, “A faith untested is a questionable faith,”
and I agreed with him 100%. There are those who believe a tested
faith is when they have overcome a temptation, and in some ways,
that may be true. The test I am speaking of, however, is a Job type
of test. How many could endure the loss of family, bankruptcy, loss of all
of your possessions and your health, yet remain strong in the Lord?
Once again, I would have to be honest and admit that I would be
unsure of how I would endure such a test if it were to happen to
me. The raw fact is, there are some who have gone through such things,
and those of us who have never had such things happen to us can
be little more than one of Job’s friends. The last thing a person
needs to hear when going through terrible times is that this is
happening to you because you doubted God and lacked faith, or that
it is a result of sin in your life. This is what all of Job’s well-meaning
friends were telling Job. In reading the end of the book, we see
that all were wrong, and God set the record straight. We find the
answer in the 40th chapter of Job, which states that all mankind
is vile and that none are righteous, therefore, none are in a position
to judge God.
Many books and articles have been written on this subject,
and I am not so arrogant to believe that I can shed new light on
the subject, nor do I have any pat answers to such things. What
I will try to do is at least give my understanding, as well as I
can present it, in hopes it may bring some hope and comfort.
Is God Unjust?
depends entirely upon how we view God as opposed to ourselves.
How many criminals feel that the justice system is fair? I would
venture to say that most inmates don’t feel they are deserving of
being imprisoned. It has been rationalized in their minds that what
they did was not wrong, and to them, they are right. However, for
us on the outside looking in, we believe justice has been served.
For these inmates, many continue to rail against the justice system
and attempt to prove themselves as being victims and innocent of
the charges. Perhaps there are those who are innocent, and just
as likely, there are many who are guilty who have escaped being
brought to justice. But in God’s courtroom, none will escape nor
will any innocent persons be imprisoned. According to God’s laws,
all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Not only that,
all of our attempts of righteousness are but filthy rags. (Romans 3:23 & Isaiah 64:6) According to God’s courtroom, every
living soul is guilty of sin, and all mankind will pay the penalty,
which is death. (Romans 6:23 & Genesis 2:17) Now, if everyone is guilty and
deserving of death, then God is perfectly just. We may not feel
that way, and we may want to declare that we are innocent of the
charges and rail against God’s justice system, but if we could see
ourselves through the eyes of God, we would know that we are guilty
and are deserving of the penalty.
We all want to see justice served and the guilty pay the penalty
when we see injustices, hurts and wrongs in this life, but when
we may be faced with a similar charge, we desire mercy from the
Somehow, when it is ourselves facing a charge, it isn’t quite as
bad as the other person’s charges. Funny creatures we are, aren’t
Is God a Merciful God?
Yes, God most definitely is merciful,
for if He was not a merciful God, then there would be no hope for
anyone of us. There is nothing that could prevent Him from pronouncing
judgment on the world today, and He would be perfectly just in doing
so. If that were to happen at this moment, in the next moment, every
living being would be paying the penalty of sin, which is death.
It is only because of His mercy that He has not. Evil, pain and
misery is a result of the sin of mankind, and that is why God hates
sin and that is why He has pronounced death upon those who sin,
which is all of us. It is only because of His mercy that He has
withheld passing judgment already. We can protest that and say He
is not being just, but according to whose justice, God’s or ours?
Now, if I have been instrumental in explaining God’s perfect justice
and His mercy, then that leaves one other thing that needs to be
examined: God’s love.
Is God a God of Love?
Yes, and that again depends on what man calls love and what God
Man’s love is, “love me then I may love you”. This kind of love
is a conditional love which has limits and conditions attached,
which is not love at all. God’s love is, “No matter how much you
hate me, I still love you”. This is an unconditional love, with
no limits or conditions attached. At this point, the next question
usually follows, “If God is a God of love, then how can He send
people to hell?”
First of all, God does not send people to hell.
It is by man’s free will he chooses to be separated from God. God
honors our choices, and will not force man to be where they do not
want to be.
Secondly, it is not God’s will that man should perish. (2Peter 3:9)
Thirdly, hell was created for the devil and his angels who rebelled
against God, and it was not originally intended for man. (Matthew
Let me put it in illustration form as to how it is God can be a
God of love and yet allow man to go to hell.
Imagine the rebellious child of a family who may get involved in
drug and gang activity, and if left to continue his destructive
activities, the entire family will eventually suffer from his choices.
(Anybody who ever has been around this kind of environment knows
exactly what I am talking about.) The child could not care any less
about how he is effecting other family members because, he does
not consider his activities wrong and that it is his own life to
live as he chooses. His main concern is to fulfill what he believes
will bring him happiness, even at the expense of the happiness of
the rest of the family. The family does not love this child any
less, but out of love for the other members of the family, it eventually
becomes necessary for him to be removed. When this occurs, I have
yet to see rejoicing, but rather with a sad heart and sorrow that
for the sake of the rest of the family, it becomes necessary. An
unconditional love works both ways, to allow this rebellious child
to inflict such pain on the rest of the family is to favor that
child over the rest of the family. That would be a very unjust and
a merciless thing to do to the rest of the family, which would not
be perfect love.
I believe this illustration (although still very limited) portrays
how God cannot love unconditionally apart from mercy and justice.
The three cannot be separated in order for God to be a perfect and
Now, we must go on to one other issue that must be addressed, grace.
If We Are Under Grace, Why Am I Still So Miserable?
If for no other reason I believe the Bible to be the word of God,
it is this: the Bible is the only writing that tells it like it
We are told there will be trials and tribulations in this life,
no soft peddling and promises of grandeur. The only thing that Jesus
offers is eternal life and the peace that comes from the assurance
that He will never leave nor forsake us. He also promises that He
will walk with us through the trials and tribulations, not
remove them from our lives. The reason for that is because judgment
has already been pronounced on the sins of man, which is the cause
of man’s misery. Even though we are saved by grace, it does not
mean that we will be exempt from what befalls man, and we still
have to suffer the evil, pain and misery of a corrupt world. As
hard as it is for us to understand, God loves those we may consider
unlovable just as much as He loves us. Unconditional love does not
show favoritism, and if He were to do that, then His love would
not be unconditional, nor would He be a God of perfect justice and
mercy. It is only because of His grace towards us that we are saved
to begin with, and it is because of His love that He shows justice
How Does Knowing This Help My Pain?
No, it doesn’t help the pain at the present time at all.
When giving this answer, the usual response is, “Then, what does
it profit me to know the Lord if He doesn’t care or help?”
That is to presume that Jesus does not care or help.
I have a friend who was single until she was 36. She has often told
me that while marriage did not eliminate her problems, when she
was single, she had to carry all the burdens herself. Once she was
married, her load became so much lighter because now she had someone
who would help her carry each and every problem. Because she knew
she had someone to share with, her sorrows were halved and her joys
doubled. And as Christians, we have another aspect that helps to
ease our pain. We have been promised that all our tears will be
dried and there will be no more crying in heaven. (Revelations 21:4)
I have to put it this way: those who do not know the Lord will go
through just as much pain and misery as those who do believe, but,
what do they have to look forward to after this life is over? This
is the one thing that the believer is to take comfort in, the reality
that all the promises in the Bible of eternal life, free from evil,
misery and pain is for only after our life on this earth is over.
Jesus cares and loves us so much, He died in our place so we can
have this. This is His desire for each and every living being, which
coincidentally is the desire of every human being as well. This
is because we know in our hearts that there has to be something
better, and that is the pursuit of mankind, trying to obtain utopia
on this earth. This pursuit is not wrong; it is the thing man does
in the pursuit the causes misery of others that is what is wrong.
(Just as in the illustration I presented before.)
The only thing I can offer as comfort and hope is in what is written
in 1 Peter 1:3-8
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His
great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through
the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance
that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you, who
through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the
salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this
you greatly rejoice, though for a little while you may have had
to suffer grief of all kinds of trials. These have come so that
your faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though
refined by fire, may be proved genuine and may result in praise,
glory and honor when Jesus is revealed. Though you have not seen
Him, you love Him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious
joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation
of your souls.”
is our eternal abode, not this life, and we must keep focused on
the eternal rather than the temporal, which will soon fade away.
It is these things one can rejoice about. It would only be silly
and foolish to suppose we are to rejoice in our afflictions. Sort
of like, thank you Lord for my house burning down, thank you Lord,
in this I rejoice. Or, thank you Lord for my broken leg.
I believe the Lord does not bring these things about, but I do believe
He is there with us when they do happen, and gives us comfort when
we look to Him.
When living in a corrupt world, terrible things happen, and eventually,
will happen to each and every one of us. As for us who may not be
going through a present crisis, we are to only but support, cry
with and comfort those who are going through trials and tribulations.
If we fail to do this because we don’t care, or if we were as one
of Job’s friends, who will be there for us when we have our moment
of trials and tribulations?
I heard this expression once, and liked it, we are to “Flesh out
Jesus” on this earth; that is our calling. And what greater calling
than to bring comfort and hope to the hurting?