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Bad Things Happen

“Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

(Matthew 6:31-33)

A cherished member of my church family asked our pastor a question. He was teaching about how God will always give us what we need, and he was preaching from Mathew 6:25-34. She asked, “Well, what about that starving mother holding her starving child? Is God taking care of their needs?” This is a legitimate question. If God meets our needs, then why is there suffering in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people?

First, we live in a fallen world. Before Adam ever sinned, God knew that the humans he created would use the free will that he provided to rebel against Him. He knew this because He is omniscient and omnipresent. So, why would he allow humans free will? Well, because you can’t love God as a mindless automaton. You must have the ability to love God of your own free will, because that is the only true love – a love from you, freely given to Him. So, sin entered this world through Adam, but we are all sinners. That fallen state means, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) This starving woman and child live in a sin filled world that we humans shaped for ourselves. She and her “innocent” child are sinners too. Up to this point God has provided what she and her child needed to survive.

Second, these promises from God were directed to saved, born again Christians. God provides for all humans, because he loves all of them and doesn’t want any to suffer, or parish in their sin (unsaved). The specific promises in the scripture above are directed at just saved people, because they have chosen to love and follow Jesus. Christians can expect to have no need to worry about if they will have shelter, clothes, food and water, because God will provide. He will provide what Christians need until he calls us home to Heaven. That may be tomorrow from a heart attack, today from starvation or next Tuesday from a bullet in the head, but as Christians, we know we will have eternal life, so why care about these simple needs of life when we have eternity to look forward to? This includes the woman and her child. God provides for them until it’s time to call them home, even if the provision He provided seems meager. He never promised that we would always feel satisfied, well fed and well groomed. He promised that there is no need to worry about our lives here on earth, because we have eternal life.

We need to read, study and discern scripture from both a human perspective and a “big picture” God’s perspective. People look at this scripture as a promise from God to provide for them, and that’s correct, but it also means that worrying about this life is pointless, because we have eternal life in the perfection of Heaven to look forward to.

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