“IF GOD is a God of love, why is there evil (or sufferings) on Earth? No matter who you are, this is one of the most significant questions you will ever face. It is a crucial question for Christian. When unanswered, it can leave tremendous doubts, or even anger and resentment against evil to destroy men. While mouthing confusion and frustration, many no longer follow the Lord.” (Dean Sherman, “Spiritual Warfare”, 1990)
Sherman`s book is still very relevant today after 30 years. There are still many people who ask: “Why does a loving God allow evil to exist?” Some may even blame God for plague (like COVID-19), and calamities causing sufferings t families.
A similar query was asked to Pope John Paul II in 1994: “Why is there so much evil in the world?” No doubt, this is a tormenting question most especially with the ongoing pandemic COVID-19 rampaging globally. Most probably not a few families in the world today are having difficulty understanding and even trusting an Almighty, Loving and Merciful God.
There is no other person on earth who is more competent to rightfully answer such a hard question but the Pope himself. For the benefit of out readers, allow me to present to you below part of former Pope John Paul II”s succinct explanation of this seeming contradiction:
“Stat Crux Dum Volvitur Orbis (The Cross remains constant while the world turns)… We find ourselves at the center of the history of salvation. Naturally, you could not fail to bring up that which is the source of recurring doubt not only in regards to His very existence. How could God have permitted so many wars, concentration camps, the holocaust (May we add pestilence like COVID-19)?
“Is the God who allows all these still truly loves? Indeed, is He just with respect to His creatures? Doesn’t He place too many burdens on the shoulders of individuals? Doesn`t He leave man alone with these burdens, condemning him to life without hope? So many incurably ill people in the hospitals, so many handicapped children, so many human lives completely denied ordinary happiness on this earth… All these add up to a bleak picture…
“God created man as rational and free, thereby placing Himself under man`s judgment. The history of salvations and doubts but of his actual judgment of God… There is also the intervention of the evil spirit who, with even greater shrewdness than man., would judge not only man but God`s action in human history.
“Scandalum Crucis (The Scandal of the Cross). In the proceeding question you addressed the problem precisely: was putting His Son to death on the Cross necessary for the salvation of humanity?… could it have been different? Could God have justified Himself before human history, so full of suffering, without placing Christ`s Cross at the Center of that history?… He is Omnipotent. From this perspective everything He does or allows must be accepted… But God, who besides being Omnipotent is Wisdom and –to repeat once again – Love, desired to Justify Himself to mankind. He is not the Absolute that remains outside of the world, indifferent to human suffering. He is Emmanuel, God-with us, a God who shares man`s lot and participates in his destiny…
Absolutely, God is not someone who remains only outside of the world, content to be in Himself all-knowing and omnipotent. His wisdom and omnipotence are placed, by free choice, at the service of creation. If choice is at the service of Creation, if suffering is present in the history of humanity, one understands why His omnipotence was manifested in the humiliation on the Cross. The scandal of the cross remains the key to the interpretation of the great mystery of suffering, which is so much a part the history of mankind of the history of salvation we may add.)… “The crucified Christ is proof of God`s solidarity with man in his suffering. God places Himself on the side of man. He does go in a radical way…
I hope our readers are enlightened with Pope John Paul II`s wise explanation of this difficult issue. As if has been said, “God works in mysterious ways.” Acceptance and surrender of His will are expected form His people. All for God`s greater glory!
In mankind`s current suffering form pandemic COVID-19, while God allows this to happen, rest assured that He is with us in this sorrowful event of man`s history of salvation. No doubt, there is a bright side of this global pestilence. Let`s also look at that bright side. Let our Lord Jesus be a source of relief at this challenging times. This humble book is a result of COVID-19 quarantine requirement. There are other good things that come out due to this pandemic. As a famous saying goes, “Crisis is an opportunity for greatness.”
It will help us to know how to effectively cope up with this challenging COVID-19 pandemic with Lamoureux`s suggestion here.
“Five Tools for Dealing with Trials” is an article written by Nick Lamoureux in a “Beyond Today” magazine of May-June 20202. The author enumerated “What to do when you`ve tried everything within your power to solve a problem? For the benefit of our readers, the “Five Tools” are: 1.) Tool #1: Prayer, 2.) Tool #2 Bible Study, 3.) Tool #3: Fellowship, 4.) Tool #4: Meditation, and 5.) Tool #5: Fasting.
In this COVID-19 scenario, “Fellowship” should be done through the use of technology rather than through personal contact especially in group where social distancing is difficult to do.
Some of the biblical verse to refer to when we seek comfort from God are: 1) 1 Peter 5:7, 2) Isaiah 66:12-13, 3) Matthew 5:4, 4) Psalm 86:17, and 5) Isaiah 40:1. Some biblical verse on disasters are: 1) Ecclesiastes 9:11, 2) 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 3) Romans 8:28, 4) Matthew 12:41-42, 5) Deuteronomy 28:58-62, 6) Luke 13:1-5, 7) Kings 6:37-40 8) Ezekiel 14:21, 9) Proverbs 14:12 1nd 10) Revelation 20:5. In this time of disasters, let`s seek comfort from God who, loves us dearly. Let`s offer Him all our fears and anxieties for He truly cares for us.
God the Father sends His only begotten Son Jesus to play major role in comforting those who are sick and who mourn. Our Lord Jesus comforted them “by giving people wise advice, by treating them kindly and even, in some cases by curing their sicknesses.” But now that our Lord Jesus is not personally with us on earth, the Holy Spirit, God`s Active Force”, is tasked to assume the said role. In Isaiah 66:13, it is written. “As a mother comforts her so will I comfort you…”
*Lord Jesus, You suffered to redeem us form sins. Give us the courage to face our present trial. We know that You are with us in this suffering. We know that this is part of our history of salvation and we accept this without reservation. Even then Lord of Mercy, please give our medical scientist the ability to discover soon a vaccine to neutralize deadly viruses and, hopefully, learn hard lessons in this regard. Amen
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