By Opal Reddin
My godly mother was beaten and left for dead by a young prison
parolee. Mother lived five more years, faithfully praying for the
mans salvation. Many asked, "Why would God allow such
a good woman to suffer such a bad thing?"
God has not given one simple answer that will satisfy everyone,
but His Word has given us all we need to know in order to live victoriously
(2 Peter 1:3,4). Being all-powerful and all-loving, He absolutely
works all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
Christians are subject to common calamities. If God protected His
children from all storms, disappointments, poverty and plagues,
people would be tempted to serve Him for selfish reasons, as Satan
falsely accused Job of doing (Job 1:10,11). Good people have no
insurance against physical death; even innocent children and babies
die. Heartbroken loved ones can be comforted by Gods promise
that He sometimes takes the righteous one away "from the evil
to come" (Isaiah 57:1).
When believers sow to the flesh, they reap bad consequences; Galatians
6:7 was written to Christians. God chastens His children (Hebrews
12:5) to correct wrong attitudes and prevent sin. Paul suffered
a painful infirmity, "a messenger of Satan" to keep him
from pride (2 Corinthians 12:7).
Fiery trials come to purify our faith (1 Peter 1:7). Tribulation
is essential to perseverance, and these produce character, the only
thing we can take with us into heaven for eternity (Roman 5:3,4).
As believers, we share in the "fellowship of his suffering"
(Philippians 3:10). The same world that hated Him hates us (John
15:18-21); all who are godly will suffer persecution (2 Timothy
3:12). The sufferings of Christ abound in good people so they can
know the comfort God gives. Then and only then are
they prepared to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3-6).
Why do the wicked prosper? Job wrestled with this question (21:7-15).
Psalm 73 tells how Davids steps nearly slipped because he
was envious when he saw the prosperity of the wicked (vv. 2,3).
Jesus explained why bad people prosper. He said the world loves
its own (John 15:19). Satans people help each other. From
the far-reaching Mafia to local scams, bad people shrewdly cheat
others out of wealth (Luke 16:8). Abraham reminded Dives (the rich
man) that in his life on earth he received good things (Luke 16:25).
For the present, God allows the devil to be "the god of this
world" (2 Corinthians 4:4). He can give the kingdoms of the
world to whomsoever he will unless God overrules (Luke 4:6).
Gods goodness toward the sinner is intended to lead him to
repentance; if he spurns Gods mercies, he stores up greater
wrath for himself at the final judgment (Romans 2:4,5).
Gods final answer to these questions is in the Cross. Jesus
used the ultimate "bad thing" to crush the serpents
head (Colossians 2:15; Genesis 3:15). Soon Gods people will
be in the only place in the universe that is totally free of all
bad things; all who follow Satan will have lost all that is good
Opal Reddin, D.Min., an Assemblies of God
minister, is distinguished professor emeritus in Bible/theology
at Central Bible College in Springfield, Mo.