The Question Most People Want to Ask God
Have you ever played the game, “If you could ask God any question, what would it be?” As believers, we can ask God any question, of course, but implicit in the game is getting an answer to the question. “Who should I marry?” “Should I take that job?” “What university should I attend?” All these seem to make their way into the game at some point.
The challenge of the Christian life is that God answers some of our questions, but not others. Those He does not answer fall into the realm of faith.
In a recent survey, Americans were asked to respond to this question: “Which of the following topics would you most like to ask God about?” Although 23 percent indicated “none of these” and another seven percent said “don’t know” most agreed with an answer expressing some kind of hardship.
If God is good, why is there suffering?
The question most people want to ask God is the same one considered by philosophers, theologians, and Christians through the ages: If God is good, why is there suffering?
This question goes beyond the realm of the theoretical when we see pictures from the cancer ward at a children’s hospital, civilian deaths from a civil war, or a young man after the untimely death of his new bride. Pain and suffering are real and seem to be completely at odds with the concept of a loving God.
Some atheists have gone so far as to speculate God cannot be both all-powerful and all good. If He were both, they insist, He would do something about evil. If He truly is good, He must not be all-powerful. If He is truly all-powerful, He must not be all good.
The problem with that position is it does not allow for a plan of God big enough for evil to play a part, but not an ultimate part. That is, evil is not eternal. At a certain time, good (or, more specifically, God) will triumph and reign supreme.
Many people will turn to the Old Testament Book of Job to take a peek behind the curtain. Readers through the centuries have found comfort there as they consider God’s dealing with Job.
God has experienced suffering, too.
Others are comforted in knowing that God Himself has suffered in the violent murder of His Son, Jesus Christ. At no point has God asked us to experience something He has not. The Father did not intervene as Jesus was offered up as a sacrifice for all of our sakes. As songwriter Michael Card eloquently wrote, “No one was there to wipe away the tears / That burned the holy eyes of God. / As he looked upon His one and only Son / Who’d never sinned or lied, yet was crucified.”
We may never get an answer to why God allows suffering before we enter eternity. Even if we do not, we can be assured of His unending love to His children. Because of the cross, we never need doubt whether God cares for us, even in the midst of pain or tragedy.