TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Yesterday, on Fox News, a headline caught my attention: “Christian rock star makes shocking announcement about his faith.” You can search for and read the article yourself, but this makes the third prominent Christian leader to publicly renounce their faith in the last year. And y’all, it breaks my heart. This latest announcement is by the lead singer of a group I don’t necessarily follow closely, but am familiar with their music. In fact, I love one of their songs (“Drops in the Ocean”). After I read the article, I went to the guy’s Instagram page to read what he wrote, and it just about brought me to tears. He and his family need our prayers.
The thing is — at some point or another, we all doubt. I get that. I understand questions. I understand trying to reconcile the God of love with the God of justice. But we have got to stop trying to put God into a box of our own design. We’ve got to stop expecting God to do everything precisely as we think things should be done! We’ve got to stop questioning Him at every turn and take Him at His word! He’s already told us that His ways and thoughts are not like ours (Isaiah 55:8-9)! And as it says in Isaiah 29:16, “You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, ‘He did not make me’; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding’?”
The following is an excerpt from this guy’s open letter (I’ve done my best to re-type is precisely):
If God is all loving, and all powerful, why is there evil in the world? Can he not do anything about it? Does he choose not to? Is the evil in the world a result of his desire to give us free will? Ok then, what about famine and disease and floods and all the suffering that isn’t caused by humans and our free will? If God is loving, why does he send people to hell? … Why does God seem so p*ssed off in the most of the Old Testament, and then all of the sudden he’s a loving father in the New Testament. Why does he say not to kill, but then instruct Israel to turn around and kill men women and children to take the promised land? Why does God let Job suffer horrible things just to win a bet with Satan?! Why does he tell Abraham to kill his son (more killing again) and then basically say, “just kidding! That was a test.” Why does Jesus have to die for our sins (more killing again)? If God can do anything, can’t he forgive without someone dying?
These are complicated questions. And I can appreciate his frustration. Later, he wrote that his frustration grew when he tried to find answers, and people would tell him he needed to go back to the original Greek. Well, as helpful as that is, it’s also just as unhelpful. Finding answers doesn’t have to be that hard. But in case anyone else is wondering this and perhaps, if they are in their own season of doubt, I want to spend time addressing these points. So, today – why is there evil in the world?
Because it’s a fallen, broken world. Plain and simple. We have to stop expecting earth to be perfection. We had perfection one time. It was a garden called Eden. And Adam and Eve messed things up because they bit into Satan’s lie with as much vigor as they bit into the forbidden fruit. And sin has been a global pandemic ever since. So we can’t keep blaming God that the world is broken. Blame Adam, Eve, and the snake! Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation and the rest is history.
I know that’s not the answer that some people want. But let me counter this question with another question — if we could have things perfect here and right now, what would be the point of heaven?
Believe me, I’ve asked all these questions too. I have also wondered why our all-powerful, all-knowing God even bothered to make us! Being all-knowing, He knew that Adam and Eve were going to sin and the world would be polluted with sin and evil. I don’t understand either. But I’m not God. I’m not supposed to understand. I go back to the verse from Isaiah – as the clay, I don’t get to question the Potter’s decisions. He is the Creator, He has the final say. And as the created being, I have to trust God when He told us that His ways are higher than ours. I have to take Him at His word completely, or not at all.
Y’all, we’re going to spend two weeks on this. I want to be thorough and after outlining his questions and concerns, this is Day 1 of 14 days. I want to address these questions because I know they are real and valid questions that others may have. Bear with me. I’m OCD enough that I’ll go pretty much in order, including a few of his questions that I didn’t include in the excerpt above. But I’m going to save free will for last. Let’s explore this together. I don’t have all the answers, but we can have a discussion and hopefully, find some truths that will satisfy some of the unknowns. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about famine and disease. If you have any thoughts on this, please chime in.
Please pray for this man. His name is Jon Steingard. In his open letter, he states that he’s the son of a preacher and his father-in-law is a preacher too. I cannot imagine this announcement is easy on his family, friends, or band. Or even Jon himself. Please pray for him. Pray for Him to turn to God for answers and for him to gain the peace and wisdom to know that some things are beyond our understanding. At least this side of heaven.
Today, as you pray, thank God that He has all the answers, even when we don’t. Thank Him that He’s always willing to listen, even hear our frustrations when we don’t understand. But ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom. If you or a loved one is doubting, ask the Holy Spirit to give you peace and point you in the right direction. And pray for this man and others who are choosing to walk away from their faith. Pray that their hearts will be convicted and that they will seek God, who promises to be found when we seek Him with our whole hearts.
SHARING ••• Please share with others! Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. ***Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.