A while ago our family had the sister missionaries over for dinner. I had asked them what is one thing that you find that many people are concerned about or don’t understand aside from the church itself. There answer was simple. People either ask If God is real why then do so many bad things happen to good people, or they state I don’t believe in God because no good God would allow good people to suffer at the hands of so much evil.
This is a questions that many people ask and have a hard Time believing that a ever loving God and father could possibly allow horrible things to happen to his children. Will Smith asked about this himself when he wrote the song Tell Me why. I love this song, it is touching and sung with so much emotion and pleading asking the same questions many have asked. When I listen to this song it is hard for me to not get emotional, I can feel his desperate longing as a father to explain to his kids why the world has come to such an evil place.
The last part of this song I feel sends a powerful message about how we should be and strive to live in this life.
“But for me I try to see the bright side
Sometimes it be like the goodness be tryin to hide
Or tryin to flee, but it can’t, it’s deep inside
Sweetie you be the light for others, make ’em believe in God”
As a father I can understand his deep emotional pleadings to God in this song. This can be a very difficult to explained to children who don’t have the maturity to understand the things that happen in this world.
It has been prophesied that terrible destruction, war and bloodshed will plague this last days of this world as we know it. From July 1971 ensign an article titled If There Must Needs Be Offense
“The word of prophecy is final: “… with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; … until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations.” (D&C 87:6.) And yet in the same breath in which he declares that God “foresaw that war should come upon all nations,” President Joseph F. Smith declared all this warlike activity to be strictly contrary to the will of God, who “is not pleased, nor was it his purpose or design or intent to foreordain the condition [of war] that the world is in today,” since wars come “not to fulfil the purposes of God, but the purposes of the nations of the earth in consequence of their wickedness.” 1
It is not God’s will that war, destruction and evil run rampant throughout the world. This is a direct result of the free agency of man given by God. Because of the gift of free agencys that God has given us he cannot intervene in the choices of men. To do so would be to revoke that diven gift that is essential for our salvation. That means that men and women will make choices that impact others in a negative way. Many of those choices are choices for evil which result in good people suffering.
When looking at the terrible evil that corrupts and enslaves the world perhaps an analogy may help to understand why God does not intervene and allows bad things to happen.
As a father of 3 girls it can be a struggle to raise them in a world filled with evil lurking around every corner. I have found that we cannot protect them from every pain and sorrow that they will encounter. At times we even subject them to pain and suffering our selves. We take them to be vaccinated. We punish them in ways that makes them miserable. We may take them for medical procedures that cause discomfort and pain. My children have come home because they got hurt while playing. In fact my oldest daugther came home with 4 broken teeth one night, bleeding and in pain. Other kids have teased and harrased her. As a father can you prevent all this from happenning? Well sure you can, you can spend every moment of every day 24/7 by there side and jump in the moment something is about to go wrong and stop it before it happens. We can refuse to take them to the doctor to prevent the pain and discomfort that may bring. We can refuse to punish them when they act out and make all there choices for them. In doing so they would never come to harm and always be safe and happy. However the long term consequences would be worse than the short term pain. Our children would never grow and progress, they would remain helpless and unable to function in life. They would be vulnerable to pain and disease that could of been prevented from a small amount of pain discomfort. They would never be able to cope with the stresses of life that would undoubtily come.
But what about natural disaster that happen to good people. Why does God allow that to happen, that has nothing to do with free agency of others. After all we cannot control the elements and the geological forces of the earth or disease. God knows that these things will happen. He does not leave us helpless. He has given us warning time and time again to be prepared.
Elder Dhallin H oaks has said
“We have this priesthood power, and we should all be prepared to use it properly. Current increases in natural disasters and financial challenges show that we will need this power even more in the future than in the past.”
“These signs of the Second Coming are all around us and seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. The list of notable floods and tidal waves and the list of hurricanes, typhoons, and blizzards worldwide show similar increases in recent years (pp. 188–89). Increases by comparison with 50 years ago can be dismissed as changes in reporting criteria, but the accelerating pattern of natural disasters in the last few decades is ominous.”
In modern revelation we have the promise that if we are prepared we need not fear
“Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you. …”
“How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind, … and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!” (D&C 43:23, 25).
Keith be Mcmullin has said
“The terrible calamities of recent years. They occur with increasing frequency and intensity. Natural forces are ferocious in their scope, human assaults are merciless in their carnage, He says: “Gird up your loins and be prepared. Behold, the kingdom is yours”
D and C 1:3 Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh.”
D and C 29:1, 7-9
“Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer. …
“Ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect …
“To prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked.
“For the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand when the earth is ripe; and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth;”
God our father has given us warning. He is not simply allowing natural disaster to happen to us. He has given us fair warning that it will happen and told us to be prepared. I have only listed a few examples of those warnings.
God Loves us and does not want us to suffer. He also knows that, like carbon which through a process of extreme pressure and heat becomes diamonds, we too through the process of life can become sparkling and shining diamonds. It is through trial and suffering that we become the Diamonds we all have the potential to become.