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God is Love

1 John 4:7-8 
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. [8] Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (NIV)
 
In her book, Making Your Faith Your Own, Teresa Turner Vining wrote, "Sometimes I have wished for oblivion. Sometimes the world seems so oppressive and difficult and humanity so capable of suffering that it's easy to wonder if it would not have been better if God had not created at all. At such times I have asked why, if God is all-wise, he chose to create the world knowing the hatred, terror, starvation, slaughter and agonizing grief that would result." (http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)

The Bible clearly says that God is love, yet He created a world knowing evil would exist. How can a loving God do that?  Since He is all powerful, can't He stop evil's reign? Let me tell you a story.
 
Hospital Chaplain Norris Burkes went on full alert when he heard that a family of stab victims would arrive at the emergency room in a few minutes. Chaplains deal with tragedy and death on a daily basis, but it never becomes routine. They are a special breed of minister who prefers to spend their time immersed in the suffering of others, and representing God and His people to traumatized people. They extend grace & hope in hopeless situations every day of their lives-this was one of those occasions.
 
The family was entertaining a friend in their home who had a dark secret-he was a crack addict. The tranquil visit turned into a nightmare when he ran out of crack and lost his sanity. He demanded money from his hosts, and when they wouldn't comply with his request, he began stabbing them.
 
It was horrible. Blood was everywhere.
 
The father died. The baby was critical. Mom was stable.
 
Big sister was in the best shape physically, but emotionally she'd entered the twilight zone. As the doctors worked with those needing medical attention, Chaplain Burkes took the ten year old girl into the chapel to pray.
 
In the beginning, her prayers sounded very innocent, like you'd expect to hear from a little girl. She asked God to help her family recover and for everything to be OK. Then her prayers lost their innocence, as she had that night, and became brutally honest. "She demanded to know why God let her father die," Chaplain Burkes said, and "she had a few choice words for her houseguest as well."
 
Rage got the best of her; she swept the candles off of the altar and began overturning chairs in the chapel. The Chaplain called for Jeannie, the nurse supervisor, who held the child in her arms and took her back into the ER to give her a sedative.
 
Where was God's love for this little girl? 
 
Shouldn't His love have stopped this man from ravaging her family? Shouldn't his love have stopped this man from becoming addicted to crack? Shouldn't His love have stopped the drug pushers from selling drugs to this man? 
 
And that's the rub. When we analyze what we expect of God's love, have you noticed that it always goes back to limiting man's choice or to negating the consequences for choices? Because of man's free will, the man had a choice to kill or not to kill, to buy drugs or not buy drugs, to use drugs or not use drugs. Is it God's fault that he chose to sin? Is it God's fault that the man's sin carried consequences?
 
Can a just God negate the consequences for man's choices? Do you think God is obligated by love to give you the answers at a test that you didn't study for? Is God constrained by His love to keep a person healthy and strong that never exercises? If God loves you, will He place an umbrella of protection over you and keep bad things from happening to you, but not everyone else? Matthew 5:45 says, "he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." 
 
To describe God as a loving God and stop at that description is a great injustice to our understanding of who He is. Not only is He loving, he is also just. He must punish sin and he must allow society to suffer the consequences of sin. 

 For more information on Chaplain Norris, see his book, No Small Miracles at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1591454255/freshministry

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