Does God Even Care?
Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” John 11:35-37
A while back, we watched a movie in which the antagonist angrily declared that God couldn’t be all-powerful and all-loving. If he was both, he couldn’t possibly stand by while such great evil occurred in the world.
This is probably the one argument – used by those who don’t believe in God – that has vexed me the most. I know that God uses painful circumstances to bring about good, but when I see on the news that a child has been kidnapped, abused, and murdered, it’s difficult to understand for what purpose an all-loving, all-powerful God could allow such a thing to happen.
While it may not satisfy all my questions, today’s passage provides some insight into my question. In the story, Jesus was told that his friend, Lazarus, was seriously ill. Jesus knew he was going to die, but he told the man’s sisters that everything would be alright. Lazarus did indeed die and when Jesus saw the pain that it caused his family, he mourned and he wept. Those standing by wanted to know why Jesus allowed it to happen. If his death makes you so sad, why didn’t you do something about it (my paraphrase)? Jesus later raised Lazarus from the dead, but still, he could have simply prevented the whole thing in the first place.
The story reveals to me, that the fault lies in the presumption of my question. I assume that an all-loving God’s first priority would be to prevent me from experiencing any and all suffering. I prayed a thousand times for God to just take away the misery of my addiction. He didn’t. Why? Today’s story reveals my error. While my struggles may sadden God, making my life pain-free isn’t his primary goal.
God’s purpose, in today’s story, and throughout the Bible, is that we come to know the authentic, eternal life that can be found only by believing in him. Real life isn’t found in the absence of pain and trials, but rather, it’s found in experiencing joy, peace, and hope in God, even in the presence of those trials. God does indeed care. He weeps when we weep, but he is apparently more interested in us knowing him than he is in providing us with a trial-free life.