“If there is a God, why doesn’t He do something about the mess that the world is in? What kind of a God would allow these horrible things?”
For the serious truth-seeker, these are formidable obstacles to faith in a loving, merciful God.
But, how does one decide what God is like . . . by looking at the circumstances of life?
If we do that, then God would be a good God in the eyes of those experiencing comfort and an evil God to those who are poor. He would be fickle to those who experience constant change, and remote to those who suffer from the sinful actions of others.
Some look for God inside, by self-examination. It has been said that even though God created man in the image of God, man creates God in the image of man. It is possible to consider God in human terms, seeing our attitudes and values as His, and perhaps not liking what we see.
These methods of determining the character of God are as ancient as the pagan idolatries. The character of their gods was based on the weather, on the success of the hunt, on the appearance and behavior of the animals and bird around them, or on their own human limitations.
Romans 1 says that God has made His attributes clearly evident to people, but “even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but became futile in their speculations . . . professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man, and birds . . . animals . . . crawling creatures.”
The chapter goes on to graphically describe the degeneration of man as a result of the decision to make up a god instead of acknowledging who He really is, and being thankful to Him.
God is not the one who is apathetic about the mess that the world is in. We are. God created responsible, volitional human beings - who have, for the most part, chosen to deny what they know of Him, and go their own way. In doing so, a “mess” has resulted. Most refuse to take responsibility for their part of the mess, and then blame God (and each other) for not doing anything to change the situation.
Is it really fair to accuse God, or even wonder if He cares, when it is our individual and corporate rebellion against His laws that have caused our pain? (Tragically, the results of individual acts of sin are not always felt the most deeply by the one who does them. A man can offend the law of God by beating his wife and she suffers. Yet God says all are sinners, even the wife, though her guilt may not directly hurt her husband.)
When God created us, He gave us a free will. Because we choose to rebel against Him, we hurt ourselves and one another. But God loved the world so much that He has offered forgiveness for our rebellion, and healing for the hurts. He showed His deep concern by sending His Son as a living sacrifice for us.
Personal repentance and faith in Jesus Christ may not wipe out the crimes, immorality, and sin of others, but those who receive His perfect life are themselves changed, and given the resources needed to clean up their part of the mess.
Christ told His disciples “You are the light of the world . . . you are the salt of the earth.” Light and salt are to counter darkness and corruption.
At best, that one person can “let their light shine,” offering the love of God and the life-changing message of the gospel to all who will hear.
At worst, we who know Him can sit back, fold our arms, and let our world continue to think that God doesn’t care.