Summary: A series where people emailed in questions and we gave them a biblical answer.
Ask A Pastor
Does God Care?
By Pastor Mark McNees
This message was originally given at Element3 Church in Tallahassee FL. To download this message’s corresponding PowerPoint, audio, and artistic elements for free please visit www.element3.org.
1. Why does God let bad things happen?
2. The question I always hear from non-believers is if there is a God why does He allow such bad things to happen? I have heard the God gives us free will response, that it helps strengthen us and bring us together, and that it tests your faith. I have to admit that even I have been a Christian all my life, I still don’t know exactly how to respond to this question.
Today’s subject is, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” As Christians, a lot of times we feel like we need to come up with an answer and sometimes we give quick answers or we come off trite. I think that there are people in this room who are dealing with real pain and real hurt and the last thing they need is a trite answer that is not really based in scripture but we just feel like we should have an answer so we come up with it. Today hopefully we can go beyond a bumper sticker answer and acknowledge real hurt and real pain and allow healing to take place and to know that we don’t always have to have an answer. If we speak for God even though we don’t know, we are in a very dangerous place.
Dear God, as we look at today and this huge subject which is the nature of bad things happening to good people, I know that when I read these questions, the question really is, “Do you care about my suffering, do you care about us on earth?” We love you Lord in Jesus Name, Amen.
A lot of times you always hear the question, “Does God exist?” I kind of look at that question in the same light as the question, “Is Pluto a planet?” Really it doesn’t make any difference in our lives if Pluto is a planet or not. Many times we try to answer that question, “Does God exist”, but the real question is, “Does God care?” If God is a God of the deists and he made this clock and wound it up and let it role, who cares? If He doesn’t care about us, why should we care about Him? The real heart of the question is does God care about me when I am going through suffering, and when I am in pain, not does God exist. There are two realities that we need to grab onto in order for us to go on this path to understand the answer to this question. We are part of a bigger story than just ourselves; if you think you are the beginning and the end this sermon will not make a lot of sense to you. The other thing is that everything God does is fueled by love. For us to go anywhere, we need to start there. We are part of a story bigger than ourselves.
We are part of a bigger story than just ours.
John 11:4 But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”
That statement has made some of your minds say why would God allow suffering to bring glory to me? You need to go to the discussion group to get that. We are part of a story that is much larger than ourselves and there is a lot more going on than what we can experience, what we can sense, what we can taste, and what we can hear.
John 11:32-35 When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept.
Have you ever been in a situation where there was so much pain and hurt that you just had anger and you just couldn’t handle the hopelessness around you? It is interesting that Jesus had this emotion, I don’t think He was angry at them or the situation, I think He was just angry about the place where the world had come to that point. It just hurt Him and troubled him deeply.
John 11:35 is the most important verse in our search today. It is the shortest verse in the Bible and the most important. The pain was so great that the people around him were in so much pain and hurt that the God of the universe cried because he was overwhelmed with their pain. The next thing we need to hold onto is that everything God does is fueled by love. It is kind of interesting, a lot of times we look at Jesus in the New Testament and then we look at the Old Testament God and we see the wrath God and we think somewhere along the line God became nice in the New Testament. The truth is the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament and there is total consistency. Everything the God of the Old Testament did was fueled by love. Jesus weeping in John 11:35 is the same God who created the universe and sent the plagues and brought people back to him through adversity.