Throughout time, people have grappled with the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil and suffering in our lives with an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good God. It’s a question that has dogged philosophers across religions and cultures for millennia, as well as every human being who has ever dealt with pain, loss, or injustice and thought That’s not fair.

Several articles in this issue will examine some of the reasons why God may allow bad things to happen, but as an introduction, I’d like to take a moment to reframe the question by remembering where God is in our most painful and vulnerable times. The following story was featured in Activated several years ago, but it deserves to be quoted here in full:

A deadly coalmine explosion in northern England left scores of miners trapped underground, beyond help. The large crowd that gathered at the mouth of the mine included many relatives of the dead and dying miners.

“It is very difficult for us to understand why God should let such an awful tragedy happen,” said Doctor Handley Moule, a clergyman who was asked to speak to the crowd. “I have at home an old bookmark given me by my mother. It is woven in silk, and when I look at the wrong side of it, I see nothing but a tangled mass of threads. It looks like a big mistake! One would think that whoever made it didn’t know what she was doing. But when I turn it over and look at the right side, I see there, beautifully embroidered, the message, ‘God is love!’ We are looking at this tragedy from the wrong side. Someday we shall view it from another standpoint, and we shall understand.”

God’s Word promises that He always has a purpose and a plan in everything that comes into the lives of those who love Him.1 However, sometimes, “His ways are past finding out,”2 and we have to trust that whatever we don’t understand now, we will understand later. As the apostle Paul noted, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.”3

If you are going through a difficult time at the moment, may you feel God’s love surround and protect you until He brings you out of it.

  1. See Romans 8:28.
  2. Romans 11:33
  3. 1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT