By Josephine McLaughlin
How does it make sense to say that God loves human beings?
In high school, I was the girl that was constantly trying to bring people to youth group on Sunday nights. Mostly boys because they are usually easier to persuade to do something if you tell them there is food involved. One of my friends that I brought, Brant, he enjoyed it. But he always asked, how do we believe in a God that has let so many terrible things happen?
At the time, I had never really thought about it. I am the type of person that ignores difficult things and puts them in some backfile in my brain. I just accept and trust it will all be fine. Maybe it’s a mechanism to attempt to control these things by dismissing hard questions.
When Brant would ask me, I would say “God’s bigger than all that. We can’t know why but we can trust there was/is a reason.” I would say whatever I could to avoid having to answer, let alone think about the question. Brant continued to go to youth group with me sometimes. He even went to a retreat or two. Brant grew a lot, but still hasn’t fully committed to believing in God, mainly because of this question. He still thinks and seeks answers to this question a lot, while I, a self-proclaimed “Christian,” never really do.
It’s not sinful to doubt or question God. Questioning is seeking, and that faithfulness looks like seeking, not having. I have been so scared of doubting or questioning God and what that would mean in relation to my faith. So much that I have neglected to seek him.
I realized, Brant was seeking God more than I was. Questions and seeking are parts of the Christian faith that often get forgotten. Christians often fear that questioning God means doubting him. This results in a “personal dismissal” of doubts or questions we have.
God sent his only begotten Son, and through him, we are reconciled and forgiven. That’s how much he loves us. My answer to the question, “In light of the existence of evil and suffering, how does it make sense to say that God loves human beings?” is to change a word or two. And to add some as well.
Doing this resulted in: Despite the existence of evil and suffering which reflects the fall, God loves human beings so much, a love we could never earn, that he made a way for us to be in relationship with him through Jesus Christ, and we are never truly alone no matter what evil and suffering we face.
Through all the evil and suffering, every trial, we have a constant and unconditional love that we can lean on.