As comforting as it is to know Almighty God has an appointed time to end wickedness and suffering, that does not tell us why He allowed it in the first place.
I have shared 2 Peter 3:9 as one reason why God is allowing wickedness in our day. Peter wrote, “The Lord is not slow to do what he has promised, as some think. Instead, he is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins.” — Good News Translation.
This is an excellent reason why the Most High God has not brought an end to wickedness. His patience is working out salvation for millions who would have been destroyed earlier if God’s appointed time came any sooner.
But again, that does not answer the real question as to why God allowed wickedness in the first place. Why does He tolerate the suffering of the innocent? There are two reasons which I personally have accepted and learned to appreciate.
One reason is recorded in the first two chapters of the Bible book of Job, where Satan the Devil makes a terrible accusation against the righteous man Job. Read it for yourself.
The most relevant thing about this account, however, is that Satan was not only challenging Job’s integrity — he also questioned yours, mine — everyone’s. How so? Notice in Job 2:4 the real accusation the Devil was making: “So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.” — New King James Version.
Young’s Literal Translation of that verse reads, “And the Adversary answereth Jehovah and saith, ‘A skin for a skin, and all that a man hath he doth give for his life.’”
Did you notice Satan did not say ‘all that Job has’ but “all that a man has,” — essentially, any man. He believes humans will turn on God to save their lives. His philosophy suggests skin will naturally look out for its own skin, so fleshly humans will turn away from God if they suffer long enough. Do you agree with his assessment of humans?
Many people who profess belief in God, but start to suffer unjustly, as did Job, resort to lying, stealing, cheating, killing, even cursing God for their troubles instead of seeing it as a possible test from Satan.
Although Job may not have fully understood why he suffered an economic fallout, the tragic loss of loved ones and a catastrophic illness, he knew not to blame God for his troubles. At Job 34:10 he said, “Far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.” — English Standard Version.
Our Creator believes He has servants of integrity wise enough not blame Him but will serve Him loyally, out of love, in spite of their unjust suffering — just like Job. Is God allowing each person time to answer Satan’s challenge as to whether they will serve Him faithfully regardless of the cost?
Revelation 12:10 describes Satan as "The accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them day and night before our God, has been thrown down." — Common English Bible.
What a privilege to be allowed enough time to answer this accuser before God's appointed time arrives!
The most important reason why God is allowing wickedness, however, goes back to the Garden of Eden. Settling this issue is far more important than whether humans will remain faithful to God or not. Why? Because it involves a question raised about God’s own integrity and righteousness.
In Genesis 3:1-5, Satan dared to question God’s way of doing things by using a serpent (Revelation 12:9) to contradict God and to slander Him, implying that humans would be better off without God telling them what to do. How did he do this?
After God told Adam not to eat from the forbidden fruit at Genesis 2:17, this fallen angel gone bad, presented to Adam’s wife, Eve, a false alternative. Since humans were made with free will, Eve could choose to believe this lie or reject it.
Instead of consulting her husband or her God before deciding what to do, Eve used her free will to do exactly what she wanted and disobeyed God. When Adam learned of it, he too sided with Eve and used his free will to disobey God’s clear command.
In doing so, all three rebels were, in essence, saying, ‘We prefer to do things our own way!’ This amounted to a challenge of God’s way of ruling and even how righteous it is of Jehovah to create humans with free will but ask them to use their free will to obey him completely.
If given enough time, technology, resources and different kinds of governments, would humans ever govern themselves successfully without God? Settling this issue once and for all would take time. Clearly, God chose to allow Satan and those who sided with him time to try to prove this claim.
In the thousands of years of human history, people have tried every form of self-rule. What do we see? Has poverty, crime, wars and injustice gotten better or worse?
Question: If God were to prevent crime, wars, poverty and injustice right now, would He not, in effect, be supporting the cause of the rebels and making people think that perhaps humans can govern themselves without disastrous results?
Jeremiah 10:23 and Galatians 6:7 tells us it does not belong to man to direct his steps and he will reap what he has sown. If God were to prevent this from happening, wouldn’t He be contradicting His own Word and become party to a lie?
Yes, people suffer tragedies and die. But not because of God. Issues were raised. He has allowed time to settle these issues and clear His Name of reproach, while offering humans the opportunity to do the same. Those are two reasons good enough for me. Now comes the real question: When life’s challenges come our way, on whose side will we testify?
The words of Proverbs 27:11 seems like a personal message to all God’s people: “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.”
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