Auschwitz. Just the mention of that place makes us shudder. When we see pictures of that horrible death camp, they become indelibly imprinted in our minds. Somehow it's hard to conceive of the magnitude of evil hatred that would destroy millions of innocent lives--men, women, and children.
My family is Jewish, and a relative of mine lived through the Holocaust. She spent time at Auschwitz. Yet, she still believes in God.
Frequently, when tragedy hits home, people ask, "But how could God allow this to happen?" Perhaps a spouse or a child dies for seemingly no reason. Our minds struggle to make sense of the situation. "If I just knew the reason, then I could understand."
But understanding does not lessen the pain of having to live without that person in our lives. How could God allow such pain? Is God cruel or uncaring? Does He know how we feel when someone has been torn from us?
In reflecting on these questions, I thought of some others. "How could a Holy God allow His own Son to suffer at the hands of evil men? How could He let His precious Son die on the cross when He had the power to rescue Him?"
The Bible tells us that God is love, and He is just.
Love and justice motivate His actions. Because of His love, He is compassionate and merciful. Can we find God's love and justice in the death of His Son? Was He being merciful and compassionate when He allowed Jesus to die?
Perhaps a familiar verse will answer these questions. Jesus said, "'God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life'" (John 3:16, NIV). In this verse, we see God's motivation: "God so loved the world"--in other words, every human being. Every individual was in danger of perishing, of not having a good eternal future, so He gave His Son.
Romans 3:23-24 explains further: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (NIV). Every human being has sinned, and "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (6:23, NIV). Because of God's justice, He must punish sin. Because of His love, He sent His Son to take our punishment. Now, He offers us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Does that sound like a hardhearted, uncaring God?
We may never know why God allows tragedies in our lives.
Sometimes, we eventually see something good come out of the suffering we have endured. From the ashes of the broken lives that survived the death camps, Israel was born. God promised in His Word that He would bring the Jewish people home to Israel, and they would once again be a nation. Never before, or since, has a dead language been resurrected to become the language of a new nation.
Every promise God made in His Word concerning the Jewish people, He has already or will fulfill. Every promise He made in His Word concerning His Son, our Messiah and Savior, He has and will fulfill.
Every promise He has made to you in His Word, He will fulfill.
© 2008 Howard W. and Nancy A. Stevens