Is God Good?
The earliest prayer I learned was the famous child’s prayer:
God is great and God is good,
And we thank him for our food;
By his hand we are fed,
Give us Lord, our daily bread. Amen.
Growing up in church, I took for granted that God was indeed good. And I came to understand that anything God desires or does is therefore, by definition, good.
When I grew up, I began to question this. If God was good, why is there so much evil and suffering in the world? And why do good people suffer? And that would include people who are devoted to Him.
My mother’s body suffered from a host of ailments, including multiple sclerosis (MS). She suffered through much of her 30s, all of her 40s, and into her 50s — when she finally passed, not yet reaching the age of 60.
She was a devoted Christian for as long as I can remember. Why would God let her suffer?
And why would He take my father at age 49 (I was 21) and allow my sister to be stricken with severe autism and mental disabilities? She was innocent.
And while we’re at it…
Why did God allow my father’s business to fail and our family to get swept into near poverty? Why did He allow my grandfather to suffer through three strokes and a massive heart attack before finally succumbing to death? Why did God let me get bullied in school? Why would He let my son get hydrocephalus and require brain surgery before he was even 2 years old!? Why would …?
I could keep going.
My family and I understand suffering and hardship. We know it up close and personal. I’m only scratching the surface.
Being a student of history, I also looked at all the suffering in our past — all the wars, the famines, the Holocaust, the natural disasters, the genocides, and more.
And then what about the Bible itself?
God kills a lot of people in the Bible.