Yesterday morning, a bus speeding through Bunda lost it’s brakes and crashed into a power pole across from the bank, killing twenty including mothers and their babies, injuring almost everyone else and wiping out power and internet for all of Bunda—so we all knew something big had happened. Shaban saw the bodies lying in the street and was deeply affected. The problem of course is that the greedy bus owners don’t want their buses not running so they can be maintained properly, but this kind of tragedy always brings the question of how can a loving God allow this kind of death and suffering?
If you read the New Testament you will find that a very honest Jesus told us the truth. He said in John 16:33, “You will have suffering in this world.” He didn’t say you might – he said it is going to happen. Now, many of you are parents. Even before you had children, couldn’t you foresee that there was the very real possibility they may suffer disappointment or pain or heartache in life, or that they might even hurt you and walk away from you? Of course — but you still had children. Why? Because you knew there was also the potential for tremendous joy and deep love and great meaning. Now, the analogy is far from perfect, but think about God. He undoubtedly knew we’d turn against Him or ignore Him, but He also knew many people would choose to follow Him and have a relationship with Him and spend eternity in heaven with Him — and it was all worth it for that, even though it would cost His own Son great pain and suffering to achieve their redemption.
I once heard and loved the story that British church leader Galvin Reid tells about meeting a young man who had fallen down a flight of stairs as a baby and shattered his back. He had been in and out of hospitals his whole life — and yet he made the astounding comment that he thinks God is fair. Reid asked him, “How old are you?” The boy said, “Seventeen.” Reid asked, “How many years have you spend in hospitals?” The boy said, “Thirteen years.” The pastor said with astonishment, “And you think that is fair?” And the boy replied: “Well, God has all eternity to make it up to me.”
If we love God, if we trust God, and if we focus on what we can do in response to evil and suffering, we will not only find God in ourselves, we will help others to know that God loves us more than we can ever understand and that we will have an eternity with Him surrounded by perfect love. This life was never meant to be heaven, it was meant to be a proving ground for what kind of Christians we can rise to be.