I recently spoke to a brother of mine who really struggled with the recent death of our good Christian friend. He left behind a wife and 3 children. My brother could not understand why God would allow this and not all the evil people?
First, Just because a murderer or rapist gets away with it in this lifetime doesn’t mean that they will get away with it in the next lifetime.
Secondly, For all our hardships of broken hearts, sufferings and tribulations, God promises to avenge His saints. If Satan is responsible for such things, then that is where the punishment will fall. Further, our suffering in this life is creating a specific kind of treasure in heaven for our suffering regardless of what that suffering is. This must be taken to also know that God is our joy in not only this life but the next as well.
@jfloyd33 I remember feeling emotions similar to these when Nabeel Qureshi died. He left behind a wife and a daughter and thousands of people were praying for him. And on top of that there were some spiteful people who claimed this happened because he left Islam. Would it not have been better for God to save Nabeel out of love for his family and for the honor of His own name? You might find some of these reflections on Nabeel’s life meaningful.
I do not think we can know the answer to why God allows certain events to happen. And we are not the first to struggle with this question. In Psalms 73, King David is furious that the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer. He expresses all of his frustration and anger and pain and then by the end of the Psalm is able to begin to find his peace in God again instead of in the external circumstances of the world around him. He acknowledges that God is a good God and that the wicked will not go unpunished even though he cannot understand his circumstances.
With Psalms 73 in mind, I think there are a few things worth noting:
- it is not wrong to go to God with our anger and frustration and pain - in fact that is the best place to take it - straight to the Lord in prayer. And then, as our heart is able and the Spirit provides, we eventually can begin to heal through worship in the midst of the pain.
- this world is not the last word - the wicked will be judged and the righteous blessed. All injustice will be set to right. As Sam Gamgee says in LOTR, every sad thing will come untrue. And as Paul says in Romans 8:28 - “The sufferings of this world are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed to us”
- the righteous often suffer in Scripture and Jesus specifically told us that we would suffer in this world, but that we should not lose heart because He has conquered the world!
- Jesus is evidence that God loves us even when the world is falling apart around us
- God causes it to rain on the good and the evil and we are called to love all people just as He does - while we may not understand why we or other Christians suffer, we should not wish it on others - may not be the right point to make in the midst of someone’s grief, but important to remember as we must be like our Master
I’ve included some additional resources below for you to consider. May the Lord give comfort, peace, and wisdom to you both
John 16:33 - “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Hebrews 11:35-38 - There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
Matthew 5:44-46 - But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.
21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
I know it’s not from the Bible, but I find that it is true. In the movie, Unforgiven, after shooting the man in the outhouse, the young wanna-be killer remarks, “Well, I guess he had it coming.” to which Clint Eastwood’s character replies, “We’ve all got it comin’, kid.” That really stuck with me, because I know it is true. Jesus said that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. So really, you’re looking at things like the rest of the world - upside down. We shouldn’t be asking why God spares “evil people”, but allows harm to come to “good people”. The truth is, we’ve all got it coming. So why has God been so longsuffering with any of us?
The question in discussion, Why would God allow destruction to a Christian and not a murderer or rapist?, presumes that the questioner is more just than God. Realistically, why hasn’t He dealt with YOU yet? For, we receive the mercy we do not deserve, while Jesus received the vengeance He did not deserve. Or do we doubt that God is able to bring justice in its due season?
I find it is best to thank God every day that He has been so compassionate with me, and realize that, though I ask Him to forgive me every day, He continues to do so - every day… Should I, then, be so judgemental about someone else, just because their sin looks different than mine?
Thank you for sharing your question Jonathan, and to respond in my view, a story comes to mind about Jesus forgiving an adulterous woman, and in those times a crime notable as punishable by death ( stoning )
John 8:3-10 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
I think primarily this story points out a very fundamental part of for one establishing who is supremely judge as He sees into every heart as we can not… and also points out that we are all sinners, sin is sin no matter how big or small is the same in Gods eyes.
In conclusion for how we are to treat, and look at one another, to love one another as Christ loves us
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
And we should obey this commandment and leave the condition of anyone’s heart regardless whether it be a Christian or a person in prison for murder in Gods hands.