By Gabriel Ezenwa (Rev Fr)
Honestly, when the thought to write something on this topic came to mind, I wasn’t sure if actually I will do justice to it. So I thought of not writing anything but something in me continued to push me to write something. Even as I write now, I am not really sure how to go about it but I am going to share my feelings about it with you. At the end it may sound logical or not logical depending from whichever perspective you choose to view it from. But one thing we have to know is that God is an immense being, we cannot understand him fully. He will continue to remain to us on earth a mystery that we strive to unravel.
Where is God when bad things happen on earth ? Does he keep quiet and allow bad things to happen ? Does he allow bad people to get away with their evil acts without protecting the innocent and punishing the bad ? Is he an incompetent God ? Is he a God that care less about what happens in the world ? These and more are questions that may run through your head when you reflect on this topic. I feel that this topic needs a book to be written about it in order at least to scratch the surface, but I am going to try here to summarise my thoughts in few lines. Hopefully it may be of help to you.
To start with, God is not inefficient, he is the best and efficient being ever we could think of. Look at his creative work, the beauty of nature, the order of the cosmos, and many more, the author of these sophisticated things can’t be inefficient. More so, if we think there are people who are efficient, and very efficient indeed, the creator of these people who made them what they are can’t be less better than they are.
There are stories of bad people who do bad things to other people. People who are literally barbaric, sadists, and evil in every ramification you can think of. A very good example we have in our modern world could be people in barbaric groups like ISIS and Boko Haram killing and slaughtering innocent people especially little children in the name of God. Why does God allow these people to continue to do what they are doing and not take them away from this world. Or why does he not prevent that from happening.
One thing we have to know is that God is merciful. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians Paul pointed out the merciful nature of God when he said, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4) Sometimes I ask myself, if not of the mercy of God, who would be alive today. If God is to uproot everyone who does bad from this world immediately one does something wrong without a second chance, I wonder if any of us may still exist here today. This is the reason it makes sense to me when I reflect on the word of the psalmist which says, “If you, O LORD, should mark our iniquities, O Lord, who would survive ?” (Ps 103:3) In one way or the other we have sinned. In one way or the other we have caused other people pain. In one way or the other we have broken one or more of God’s commandment. St Paul is right when in his letter to the Romans he said, “ All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) In the same line of thought, the prophet Isaiah reminds us that, “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way. And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
Regardless of this truth, God still allows us to be. He still gives us time to repent, to change, to realize our mistakes, learn from our mistakes and turn a new life. This is the type of God we have. Personally I prefer such type of God, I don’t know if you do. Whether we are members of the ISIS group, Boko Haram group, a thief on the high way, a pocket picker, a husband snatcher, a wife batter, a back stabber, a fornicator, an adulterer, a lady who has killed the baby in the womb and so many other vices you could think of, God still loves us all and wants everyone to change. Jesus in the Gospel of Mathew taught us that, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Mtt 5:45) He allows us to live because he wants to give us time to change. But when the time he has given us elapses, there will be no second chance to change.
Now I know you may say he could as well prevent those bad things from happening. I will tell you here that God created us and gave us the freedom to choose between good and evil. This is why we are not like other animals. We have our intellect which makes us intelligent being . We also have our will which makes us capable of deciding ourselves to freely do something or not do something. God has given us these beautiful gifts and he will not take them away from us. By interfering in human acts, he will be taking our freedom away. He will be making us look like a movie whose script is normally written before it is acted. We then would be no different from the stones, the knives, the computers and other material things. It is what we decide to use them to do that they are used for. Their utility is determined by our actions. Our relationship with God is different and better. God has given us the freedom to choose our own actions so that we could be responsible beings. Higher beings not controlled with a remote from a heavenly space. If we have not freedom, we won’t be responsible for our actions. We would be acting a script already written by him and therefore he should be responsible for all our actions. Personally I prefer the life of freedom than a life of a robot.
I am not sure if I made sense to you. But this is the way I feel about the topic. It is what has been helping me in my faith journey. I don’t claim that it is 100% the answer to the topic. But I believe to some extent, it gives us an insight into the discussion . Hopefully reading this may help unravel some confusion and crisis you may be experiencing due to things related to the question of this reflection. May God bless you all and may he continue to help us out of our faith crisis. Amen.