When calamity lights on the world, the question is asked, â€œWhy would a good God allow such a terrible thing to happen?â€ Often the best reply from believers in a good God is, â€œWe donâ€™t know.â€ That, at least, sounds better than â€œGod is punishing someone.â€
A thirty-seven-year-old wife and mother in Canada, however, unhesitatingly provides an answer:
Many have asked, "Why? Why is this happening to you?" ...I don't ask why, because I know the answer. And here it is. We live in a sinful world. Bad things happen. But it was not supposed to be this way, and it will not always be this way. God has a plan. He has made a way for sinful people...to be with him in a perfect world. The way is Jesus.... This is the way to know God and someday be free from this world of disease and pain....
So God is being patient, patient so that everyone has the opportunity to repent and to make things right with him. That is why there is evil and suffering in the world, because when he does return to bring judgment there will be no second chances.
Rachel Barkey is qualified to speak so boldly. Last January she was told her cancer had returned and was terminal. Astonishingly, she has used her final days not only to make memories with her family but also to share her profound and resolute faith in a good God publicly:
I am dying. But so are you. Neither of us knows if he will even see tomorrow. And perhaps the reason that I am suffering now, the reason that God is waiting to bring judgment against all the evil in this world, is because he is waiting for you, for you to acknowledge your sin and to turn to him for forgiveness. Maybe you are the one we are waiting for.
Jesus suffered. God did not spare him. Why would he spare me, if my suffering would result in good for you? If my suffering is the means God would use to bring even one person to himself, it is an honor for me to suffer.
(Thanks to Tim Challies for the link; image Â© Anastasia Chomlack.)