We don’t understand a world of suicide bombers and casual murders. Why does God allow it? For the same reason a dog owner gets to choose between a collie and a dachshund, or a Great Dane and a Scottie. God gives us freedom of choice. Murder is a matter of heart. God gives every individual the freedom to choose between good and evil.
It’s easy to rail against God when tragedies stalk our world. It’s easy to shake a fist at God over unanswered prayers; when someone we prayed for remains unhealed, when someone we love dies, when a fierce storm ruins our homes and possessions. It’s natural to blame God when He allows something bad to enter our lives. And, yet…if God intervened to the point of taking away our freedom of choice, how would we feel when we selected a golden retriever from the pet shelter and the manager said, “No, God put you down for a beagle.”
Jesus had unanswered prayers. On the night before He died, Jesus prayed three times and asked God, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me, nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done.”
Jesus didn’t want to suffer. He didn’t want to be tortured. He didn’t want to hang on the cross. He didn’t want to die. But His prayer to be spared agony went unanswered because His death on the cross for our sins was the only way the gates of Heaven could be opened wide enough for all of us to enter. Even after allowing His Son to die on the cross for our sins, God did not strip our freedom of choice. We can still get that golden retriever….or walk with evil as a companion and allow cruelty and murder to control our hearts.
When Jesus died on Good Friday it seemed like an unbearable sorrow and tragedy to His followers. The One who had opened blind eyes, healed the lame, cast out demons, turned water into wine, raised the dead, calmed the storm, and walked on water had died just like other people.
Easter Sunday proved what Jesus’ disciples did not know at the time: “All things work together to good to those who love the Lord.” (Romans 8:28) Jesus rose from the dead! Because He lives, we can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because He lives, we can follow Him to Heaven where there is no illness, death, sorrow, tears, or parting. Alive forever in new bodies singing praises because of Jesus’ power to transform the worst day in world history into the best.
Because Jesus lives, I can live forever. The choice is up to me. I’m going for the Man Who paints the seasons with brilliance and draws human hearts toward good. I’m going with God.
(Photo by Author Alan T McKean: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alan-T.-McKean/e/B00BR1PM5Y/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0