This question might take on other forms, like “Why are some people (or nations) terribly poor?” or “Why do evil people get away with murder?” or even “Why do some immigrants get turned away or deported?” A strong sense of justice is particularly strong with Generation Z, and these questions really bother many of today’s teens. How we address them is key to retaining their trust as well as their likelihood (humanly speaking) of caring what God has to say.
Evaluate Your Own Agenda
For Baby Boomers and other older generations who are right-wing conservative Republicans, the way some of these issues are or should be legislated or addressed is seen differently than from the perspective of 20-somethings and younger.
I’m not about to argue politics, here, but let’s be cautious about equating a particular political party — and especially their fiscal policies — with Christianity.
Is it really more in keeping with our faith to deport immigrants or decrease funding for children’s health care? We might argue that it’s economically necessary for the continuation of a free market and healthy economy, but kids today are trying hard to figure out how these things align with a love-your-neighbor concept.
Let’s respect that and stop harping on how they should vote. The Gospel is more important than the next election, the future of Social Security, and even the continued physical safety of our country.
Find Refuge in the Heart of God
What does God want? He wants all people to repent and live forever with Him in Heaven (2 Peter 3:9). Yet He also allowed His own Son to be rejected and experience the grief and suffering that are part of human existence (Isaiah 53:3). As a result, He isn’t unmoved by our own suffering, or that of the impoverished single mom in Haiti with no earthly hope of a better life. Or that refugee from war-torn Africa who no longer has a family or home. Or that victim of repeated sexual assaults whose attacker got off on a technicality and walks the streets of her very same town.
Matthew 25 offers us a motivation for caring for those kinds of people and rebukes those who remain unmoved. God cares about those people, as well as those throughout history who have been made slaves or abused or violently assaulted. In His plan, as outlined in Romans 13, good government punishes evil and rewards good.
Just like God doesn’t stop other forms of human suffering, though, we shouldn’t think His allowing it means that He desires it. It does mean that He has a plan that can somehow be accomplished through it and that someday all human suffering will end. Until then, there is an ache that all of humanity will feel.
An important follow-up question to ask is “What can we do about it?” We’ll consider a few ideas in Part 2.