Just over eleven years ago my younger brother Robert passed away from a horrible disease. He was a great Bible teacher, and I know today he is totally healed and in his eternal home with his Lord and Savior.
Over the years as I’ve spoken around the world on the authority of Scripture, one of the most-asked questions I’ve received is how one can believe in a loving God when observing the death and suffering around us. As a result of my brother’s death, I decided to write a book titled How Could a Loving God . . . ? to deal with this challenging question from a biblical perspective. Yes, we do live in a fallen world, a sad world, and a suffering world.
A few days ago another tragedy shook our country. A former Navy reservist shot and killed 12 people and wounded others in a horrific attack at the Washington DC Navy Yard. News reports have stated that the shooter was suffering from mental health issues and investigators are still trying to determine what prompted the shooting. I heard one reporter say this was the 20th major shooting to occur in just the last five years in the USA.
Tragedies like these cause many people to wonder how God—if He is truly loving—could allow such things to happen. And in those moments, it’s incredibly important that we remember the source of suffering and death: sin.
Shootings like this are reminders of the sorrow of Genesis 3, when Adam rebelled against God and as a result, sin and death entered the “very good” creation:
To the woman He said:
I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:16–19)
Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, God placed the Curse on creation. And because of their sin, Adam and Eve—and all their descendants—would endure toil and suffering, and they would eventually experience physical death. With the entrance of sin into the world, we’ve seen and experienced unimaginable tragedies.
Really, this groaning world we live in is our fault—we rebelled in Adam against our Creator God.
But our loving God has given us hope! Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, came to earth, lived a perfect life, died a criminal’s death, and rose again the third day. The Son of God defeated death for our sake and freely offers the gift of salvation to all who will believe. He did this to rescue us from the situation we put ourselves in:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)
Those who believe the gospel have their sins forgiven and will enjoy eternal life with our truly loving God. I urge you, if you have not believed the gospel of Christ and repented of your sin, do so today!
I also encourage you—if you or your loved ones have been affected by this or another tragedy—to read my booklet Why Is There Death and Suffering? available through our online store and available free online.
This book is also available online to read for free.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,