St. Sava Orthodox Church

Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?

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Scripture Readings

Acts 16:16-34

John 9:1-38


People often ask the question: “If God is so good and so loving, why does He allow evil in the world?  Couldn’t he make the world so that everyone would be good?”  It is a very good question that can be answered by asking the following questions:

  1. Does a stove cook food because it loves cooking food?
  2. Does a lawn mower cut grass because it loves cutting grass?
  3. Does a toilet flush because it loves to flush?

No!  These devices do these jobs because that is what they were built to do!

We believe that God created us so that we could share His life with Him.  If we are really going to be like God, we have to have free will like He does.  Without free will, we would not be able to love people, because love depends on choice.  If we do something good just because we have been programmed to do it, then we are not showing love, because we are not using free will.  We are being machines like stoves or lawn mowers.  But free will is a double-edged sword.  While it does allow for the possibility of real love and holiness, it also allows for the possibility of real hatred and wickedness.

What does this have to do with “how a loving God could permit evil”?  Just this.

Every day that God gives us is filled with choices—choices in which we can do His will or our own will.  He gives us the freedom to love Him, to hate Him, or to not care about Him.  He loves us so much, that He refuses to take away our free will.  If He took it away from us, then we would no longer exist.  We would just be puppets being pulled around to do what He wants us to do.

OK, fine.  That’s why He allows evil.  But if He’s going to allow evil, can’t He at least take away suffering?  Why does He allow us to suffer?  So many innocent people have suffered terrible pain.  Why doesn’t He take that away?

As horrible as it can be, suffering can lead us closer to God.  If we give our suffering to Him, He can make us more like Him.  God has chosen not to take our suffering away, because He has decided to share in it.  Whatever pain we suffer, we can be assured that Jesus Christ has shared in it.  Have you suffered because someone close to you died?  So has Christ.  Have you been unjustly accused or punished for something you did not do?  So has Christ.  Have you ever been abandoned by everyone and left to suffer unimaginable pain?  So has Christ.  Our Lord Jesus Christ has suffered these things so that He could lift them to the right hand of God.  When we suffer, have the opportunity to draw closer to God.


What are some ways that we can give our pain to God?  Write down at least one.