We’ve all heard this question: “Why do bad things happen to good people? Doesn’t this necessarily make God either impotent or evil, or both?”
In my experience, the people who ask most often ask these questions are not the ones who suffer the most. The guilt trip of the wealthy and well-educated in our society oozes out of every syllable in these vacuous questions.
And here’s the rub: I cannot answer that question with words. Words are too limited, too powerless, to speak to those awful inquiries. My only response can be to pray. Pray on this Good Friday. Remember, Christians call this day of pain, agony, and crucifixion “Good,” not “Bad.” The pain and suffering that we encounter has been met by God, on the hard wood of the cross, and was answered once and for all at the empty tomb.
Lastly, remember that these questions are not theological questions. They are actually questions about the human condition. These questions assume that God is like us, that God has humanoid characteristics. Yet God is different, “my ways are not your ways, not my thoughts your thoughts.” It is important to remember that in asking these questions we are struggling to find a way to justify God’s existence in our own image.
How backwards can we be: we are in God’s image, and it is on this day that we are justified before God.