Why does God allow bad things to happen? I am overwhelmed by the images I see on television coming out of Japan. I thought that we had it pretty bad here after Hurricane Katrina – and we did – but the utter devastation is hard to comprehend and to accept.
Why did God allow the earthquake in Haiti? Why did He allow 911? Why did He allow Katrina? Why did He allow this earthquake and devastation in Japan? Why are some children born, only to die shortly thereafter? Why do some people lose their jobs? Why do some get cancer? Why are we to suffer? Doesn’t God love us?
I love this quote from St. Augustine; “God had one Son without sin, but none without suffering.” God loved His only Son immensely – infinitely – and yet, not even He was granted a life without suffering. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed,” My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Why did God allow this horrible thing to happen to Jesus? – to bring about a greater good – our Redemption!
Why does God allow suffering in our world? To bring about a greater good. Often times, we cannot see the good when we are experiencing the agony. It is only in retrospect that we can see God’s hand in bringing good out of a painful situation. In the Bible, we are told that He has counted every hair on our heads, and that He knows if even one of these hairs should fall. Certainly, He is concerned with every detail of our lives. However, He is also more concerned with our holiness than our happiness in this world. Trials and tragedies bring us to our knees. They also seem to bring out the best in human beings in the way we reach out to assist others experiencing loss or devastation. They remind us of our complete dependence on God. They have the capacity to build character, virtue and holiness, and bring us closer to Him….so that we may be happy in heaven with Him for all eternity.
Let us pray for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and for people around the world who are suffering. Let us reach out to our brothers and sisters with our hands to help, our hearts to love and our assistance to sustain.