Monday, 27 October 2014

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Reflection: Why Does God Allow Evil and Suffering in the World (Part 2)

Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
 
"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did hte weeds come from?'
 
"'An enemy did this,' he replied.
 
"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'
 
"'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"
- Matthew 13:24-29

As I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to be able to explain to J why I believe in God. I wanted to be able to explain to him why there is evil and suffering in this world. I may not have all the right answers, but I want to have thought through and have my own opinion, that would encourage him to search out the answers. I don't want to say, "I don't know, and I don't have an opinion. It doesn't matter. Don't worry about such things," and dismiss it. I wanted to be ready to give an answer that speaks firmly of my conviction (1 Peter 3:15), especially to my own child, the conviction of why I believe in God and why I chose to be a Christian, and why I want to learn to love God. Thus, the search continues and this question has been on my mind. I cried out to God, "Why does He allow evil and suffering in this world?" Last night, there was anguish in my soul as I long to understand and find an answer.

Our God is high above, and we are down on earth. God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His Ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). Yet, in His compassion and loving-kindness, He answered me directly and clearly this morning, as I opened my Bible to continue my weekly Bible reading from Matthew. There and there, God answered me with the passage from Matthew 13:24-29.

God explains in Matthew 13:24-29 the reason why evil and suffering exists in this world. God did not create evil, but the devil by sowing "weeds", sowing lies, first with Eve, then with Adam, and through Adam and Eve, us and the devil is still sowing weeds and deceit in this day. But if God removes evil (the weeds), He may pull up the good along with them (the wheats). As such, God is patient with us, not wanting anyone of us to perish, that He is putting up with evil in the world (2 Peter 3:9). God endures all these, so that more souls can be saved. To God whose time scale is limitless and infinite, a day is like a thousand year and a thousand year is like a day (2 Peter 3:8).

If God roots out all evil, there will be no one left, as we are all sinful and evil to various degree. Where should he draw the line? He is waiting until the harvest, because He is allowing us to grow and mature as seeds grow and matured into plants with fruits at harvest time. At harvest, which is in His time, He will then separate the good from the bad (the wheats from the weeds).

I should thank God for not pulling out the evil in the world yet, for so many of my loved ones are not saved yet. If He roots out evil now, none of them will have a chance. Thank you for answering me, dear God.

Whenever there is evil (weeds), there will be troubles. Whenever there are troubles, there will be sufferings. But the good news which gives us strength and hope is that God has overcome the world (John 16:33).

Though there are many innocents who suffered unjustly because of evil, God is concerned about saving souls for eternity. He lays down His life for sinners. God knows that the soul of those innocents, although to the extent of losing their lives on earth, are saved for eternity.

Because God is victorious and triumphant, God is able to use the evil that resulted from the devil and from our sinful nature, and turn it for the greater good and purpose, which with our temporal and limited eye-sight and understanding, we may not be able to understand.

In Matthew 13:37-43, God explains the Parable of the Weeds:

Man who sowed good seed = Son of Man
Field = The World
Wheat (good seed) = sons of the kingdom
Weeds (bad seed) = sons of the evil one
Enemy = The devil
Harvest = The end of the age
Harvesters = Angels

Being a human, I don't have 100% full understanding yet, but God's answer in Matthew 13:24-29 has so far provided a sufficient satisfactory answer the reason for evil and suffering to exist in this world, that enable me once more to trust in Him, in His ultimate goodness and triumphant over evil, in His wisdom and in His love. My heart is at ease, thanks be to God.

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