This episode is part of my podcast series DEAR ATHEIST… If you prefer, LISTEN NOW.
This post is in response to Nancy Drew, who wrote a response to the original post: 3 Strange But True Reasons Why God Doesn’t Feed All The Starving Children by Peter Guirguis.
I can understand where Nancy is coming from, as I also kind of felt let down by Peter’s defence. I think it was the title that made it seem so intriguing and new. But it really wasn’t anything new, like Nancy pointed out. Nancy raised some good points in her posts, that if I was an atheist, I would have nodded my head along in agreement. But like Peter, I do see the bigger picture.
“You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
(John 12:8, Matt 26:11).
I think this one liner by Jesus answers this deep question succinctly. Even though He doesn’t give a reason, it is still an answer.
Many people have wrong expectations of God. The Jews, for instance, were expectant that when the Christ came, He would deliver them from the rule of the Romans. But that wasn’t Jesus’ agenda at all. And though Jesus healed and fed many people, He didn’t heal all the sick or feed all the poor that lived in the world, while He walked on it, or even in Judae. Jesus came for a higher purpose than to make this world a more cosy place for everyone. He came to save the world spiritually! You may not agree with His priorities, but that’s just the way it is.
God already gave us a chance for a perfect world, without sickness, sin, death and poverty! It was His original plan, to live among men in a state of Heaven on Earth. However, we all know what happened to that plan. The enemy succeeded in deceiving Eve and Adam, so that they became corrupt and could not abide in the Garden and live in that perfect world. God didn’t see Satan’s attack as a defeat, but as a challenge…an opportunity to teach, groom, and lead us to know and love righteousness.
God’s plan and desire to live with us in peace and harmony forever is still in play… But, He has set a date, a day which no man knows, when He will destroy evil once and for all, and reserve for Himself, those who did His will on the Earth. Those who believed in Him, and followed His Christ. Those who loved others, as a reflection of their love for God and His righteousness (Read the parable of the Sheep and the Goats).
Asking why God doesn’t feed all the starving children is equivalent to asking why God doesn’t make everyone believe in Him! You may disagree, but really, what’s the difference? If God really wanted to, He could snap His fingers and make the world perfect once again. He could, with a word, cause all men to fall in love with Him… But that’s not His way. That’s not true love, because it deprives us of our choice, and therefore, responsibility and sacrifice.
Every parent knows that their kids will never learn responsibility, compassion, discipline or even patience, if they always do everything for them. Or if they pad them from the hard knocks of life! Part of parenting is letting go and letting your children mature into wisdom and understanding by their interactions with the world and experiences. So, just as a Good Father, God allows us to make mistakes, suffer and go through all sorts of trials. It is His desire that those who accept His grace through Jesus Christ, will follow in Christ’s example and heal the world (with their loving witness). He mandated His followers, in addition to preaching the good news, to also help the poor and the oppressed. That is how people will know that they are truly His followers (John 13:35).
Yes, God has intervened dramatically in the past. But what is consistent with God is His grace and the liberty He has given man to either do right or do wrong. God has always allowed time before enacting His judgments. Men committed all sorts of atrocities for many thousands of years before God decided to send the flood. Sodom and Gomorrah carried on their abominable acts for years before God decided to consume them with fire. The Israelites endured centuries in bondage and slavery, before the great deliverance that God brought about through Moses! There are many more examples of God’s patience and endurance with men. The one thing you can be sure of with God is He will not override your will – but He will certainly judge you for your sins.
So, what I’m trying to say here is that, there is no complex answer to why God allows evil to coexist with good on Earth. In His parable of the Wheat and the Tares, Christ answers this question even more clearly…
“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”
That’s it, in a nutshell! I cannot do better than my God. There’s no other smart answer to give. At least, not one that will satisfy an atheist! By the way, God won’t consider your claim to atheism as a reasonable defence against your disobedience. You say you don’t believe in God, that’s ok. You should know that God doesn’t believe in atheism either (Romans 1:18-25)! And, you know what, neither do I! Nobody wants to live in a world without God, any more than a child wants to grow up without parents. The problem is, you want a god you can control, who fits your idea of niceness and who won’t make you do what you don’t want to do. Just because we have largely succeeded in stripping parents of their power in the home, doesn’t mean we can strip God of His authority over the Earth! God is not God if He jumps at yours or my command!
Christians know that the burden is upon us to feed the poor, heal the sick and love our neighbours as ourselves. A selfish Christian is an oxymoron. So, don’t use those who claim to be believers but who don’t practice practical love as examples of what Christianity represents. If you look and observe, and are honest, you will see that most of the people out there helping the poor in foreign lands are Christians, and they do it because they are Christian, not because they are good people.
On a side note, if you are inclined to help the poor and make the world a better place, please support my charity work in Nigeria, by donating to Fair Life Africa Foundation. Thank you!
This post was first published on Isaiah 53:3 Project by Ufuomaee in August 2015, and then reblogged on Grace And Truth.
Photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com
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One thing can definitely be said about you. You don’t shy away from the tough topics. I don’t know about you, but I sure am ready for the day that all evil has been eradicated.
I’m eagerly waiting too! Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂
We could have a much better world if every believer lived in obedience to Christ ! Love your neighbor is a command.
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Yes, we sure would 🙂