As I reflect back on the last year and the beginning of this year, I find myself pondering the question I used to ask my Sunday school teacher when I was in elementary school: “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” I believe we all ask this question at one time or another.
We are so focused on the “here and now,” I believe we often forget that faith in Jesus does not guarantee a life free of suffering, but rather a perfect eternity. The fact that bad things happen to good people has more to do with human beings than it does God. God allows us to suffer because we have the freedom to choose how we will act.
I am reminded of C. S. Lewis’s words when he watched his wife die of cancer. “But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Sometimes we need to be reminded that God’s plan is for us to return to him and pain is a tool that will lead to greater happiness in eternity.
I remember years ago when we were living in Houston and my daughter, Erica, rode her bike to school for the first time. I was so worried about her I drove to the school that morning to make sure I saw her bike on the bike rack. I also worked from home so I could be there when she came home. I remember feeling so happy and relieved when she got home. This is how God will feel when we all return home to him. God let us go and gave us freedom, but his desire is for all of us to return home to him.
So, my question for you today is, “How are you going to use the free will God has given you?” Regardless of what this year brings us, my prayer is that we will ask the Lord to direct our steps and grant us the wisdom to use our free will to make choices that glorify him, so when the time comes and we enter his kingdom, we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
“The mind of the man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9
Written by Jeff Gentry, senior vice president and CFO of Buckner International.