Question #13: He took me by the hand and asked, “Does God plan everything?.....I mean everything?!”
My brain fumbled between man’s freewill in contrast to God’s control, and then I felt the Holy Spirit tug at my heart that none of these answer this young man’s question. So I thought I should talk it over with Jon first so I don’t say something destructively stupid. So I told him, “I’ll have to get back to you on this one. I don’t know how much of the stuff that happens to us is in God’s control and how much is of our own making. But I know God has a plan for your life. See you Tuesday, bud.”
So I shot Jon the question and he said, “Well you know what the kid’s really asking?”
I nodded like I knew the answer and said, “Uh-huh, but I want to hear your take.”
“He’s saying that if God plans everything, then why is God the author of all the bad stuff that happened to him. If God planned that stuff to happen, that makes God the villain of his story.”
Whew. Yup, Jon’s right, but in my heart I’m thinking, “What in the world do you do with that?” I’ll never forget my apologetics professor, who was teaching us how to defend the truth of the Gospel, and the number one hard question to answer was, “If God is so good, why do bad things happen to good people?” The week he started teaching on this question, his son tragically died in a car wreck, leaving a wife and two kids. It was just like a full-frontal assault of Satan on this man. You could see the “Why God?” tattooed on all our faces for the rest of the semester.
The bitter reality is that we’re born in a foxhole. We’re broken and wounded by just being in the flesh on this planet, and we have an enemy that has no mercy on women and children. Does God want people to go to hell, kids to be molested, and parents starting their children on heroin? Of course not, but it happens. The other side of being born in a foxhole with an enemy against our souls is that we also have a God who is a perfect gentleman that does not force himself upon anyone, and loves us with unfettered tenacity.
God has a plan…a rescue plan. He truly desires all men to come to repentance, but not all men do (read 1st Timothy 2:4). He’s provided and paid for all of us to be completely rescued from the dominion of darkness, but we have to receive it by faith. The choice is ours, but none of us would have made that choice if it wasn’t God’s plan. My Old Testament professor said, “God is so sovereign (in control) that he built freewill into the system.”
Another aspect that many don’t look at or acknowledge is that we are called to help the helpless, show mercy, give compassion, and take a stand against evil. Edmund Burke said it well, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Maybe if more believers wouldn’t let the pain of this world and their own insecurities cut the sinews of the muscles that empower compassion, then fewer kids in this world would be asking this question.