3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.
There is a question that I hear and read a lot. It is, “If God is a loving God, why does He allow ___________ to happen?” It is a worthy question and deserves a worthy answer.
There are, however, a couple of things we should know about this question:
- If we are not careful, we place God on the witness stand and demand that He answer our question to our satisfaction. This is definitely the WRONG APPROACH! Instead, let us come humbly to HIS THRONE and ask our question.
- It is a foundational question and if we get it wrong, our whole theology is thrown off.
It is a question of FREE WILL. Why would God allow such evil in the world? Because He allows us to make our own decisions. We are free to choose right or wrong, selflessness or selfishness, virtue or vise. When we take each person’s decision and multiply it by all the people who have lived on the earth, add to that the sin nature, and we have the current state of our world.
God wants us to love Him freely and of our own accord, so He created us in His own image. There is a bit of God in us, and that bit is our free will. The danger is that in order for us to CHOOSE to love God, He runs the risk of us NOT choosing God. It’s an “all or none” situation.
I like to read historical Christian fiction. In my latest book, the hero got his leg caught in a bear trap and was healing from it. Being a career soldier, he was having to learn humility:
He had a feeling God was reminding him he had a long way to go, and a desperate need to get there, when it came to being humble. The children liked him better when he behaved with some humility. Which meant he needed to get better at it. That might also be why his leg was throbbing like a sore tooth. It wasn’t bad enough to make him go back, but it made the going hard, uphill on a slippery slope [they were walking].
It kept him humble. But God wouldn’t use a bear trap on a man, would He?
Probably not, but once the bear trap snapped, God was there in many ways. Cam was healing, which honestly was a miracle. But it had laid him low for a long time. That gave him a chance to get to know his daughter and nephew.
Nope, Cam did not believe God snapped that bear trap on his leg. God had an overriding interest in souls, not legs. If God did such a thing as set a trap, He was going to try and trap a soul. And that was a gift from heaven.
I love the phrase, “God had an overriding interest in souls.” God can heal anyone. He proved it through Jesus. God can make the elements do anything. He proved it through Moses. God can save anyone from death. He proved it through Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace (see Daniel 3), but His overriding interest is in souls. He created the world to work a certain way and He works within that order the vast majority of the time.
He will eventually return to set things right. But, that’s His business.
Just for the sake of discussion, let’s consider the name God chose for Moses to identify Him: I AM. It’s in Exodus 3:14. This term describes God as Omnipresent, or everywhere at all times. We tend to think of His presence everywhere, but it also includes time. Hence, God is in the past as well as the future–it’s all one time for Him. HE LIVES IN THE EVER-PRESENT. All of our decisions are NOW for Him. He interacts with us NOW.
The problem is that we are time-oriented. We cannot grasp eternity without trying to put it in the perspective of time. This is the part that requires faith. If God is Omnipresent, is He also Omniscient (all-knowing)? Obviously. To know everything from beginning to end would include everything (by the way, Jesus identifies Himself as the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, in Revelation 22:13). If He is Omniscient, is He Omnipotent (all-powerful)? If we believe that God created the heavens and the earth, and TIME, then, yes, He is.
IN Beth Moore’s DANIEL study, she made these observations from the account of the fiery furnace:
- God can save us from the fire. It grows our faith.
- God can save us in the fire. It grows our testimony.
- God can save us through the fire–straight into the arms of Jesus. It’s our glorification.
It depends on which option we will glorify Him the most. Remember, He’s all about souls and having a personal, ever-present, relationship with them. That includes us!
Let’s allow God to be God and focus on walking with Him, listening to Him, and being obedient to Him. In this way, we glorify Him.