My daughter and her husband are dealing with car trouble; one has been totaled – it was admittedly on its last legs – and the other was in the shop. And why? Wait for it….can’t quite believe it…squirrels!
Those small creatures, to which I’ve never given much thought, decided to eat important wires and hoses in the engines of their cars, which has led to much angst, considerable expense, traps set by animal control experts, and all kinds of squirrel abatement ideas. My husband said, “Get a pellet gun.”
I am wondering how to connect pain in the neck squirrel dots to God. It may be a challenge, but I’m going to try.
Why would God allow these particular squirrels to go after my daughter’s cars? They are hard working parents of three young sons and do not need the expense and aggravation that these rodents caused. Since God is capable of making a donkey talk, surely he could have arranged for these particular squirrels to make their nest somewhere else.
He didn’t. Why?
Why does cancer take the lives of people far too young to die? Why do dictators reduce the lives of millions of people to subsistence levels? Why do people get shot every day in Chicago? Why are there millions of refugees looking for a place to call home? Why are kids bullied or abused or lonely?
Why do squirrels eat automobile hoses?
While squirrels are on my mind now, it could be a lot worse. Everyone has problems.
God never promised us pain free lives, in fact he said quite clearly that in this world we will have plenty of troubles.
Which leads to a difficult question: How can an all powerful, all knowing, loving God allow people to endure suffering of all kinds? In other words, what do we make of the problem of evil?
The problem of evil is often used by atheists to argue against the existence of God. I can understand that if one looks at this world as all there is and our lives as accidents with no eternal value, God doesn’t make sense. With that limited frame of reference, the problem of evil is a major hurdle to faith.
Christians, however, have a much larger world view. If avoidance of evil and problem free living were the primary goals, the utmost good, of our lives, then the problem of evil would carry more weight, but God has much higher intentions for us than a few years of easy living. The years that we live in this world are just the first baby steps in our eternal existence. God promises us eternity with him and, therefore we are meant to live for the glory of God, as a witness to his power in our lives, and to love people as he loves us.
I believe that God desires us to live productive and enjoyable lives, but our own sins and the sins of others bring evil into our paths. God is surely able to rescue us from trouble, and he probably does more than we realize, but sometimes it seems that he lets evil play out.
When we suffer we have an opportunity to demonstrate the power of God in our lives.
Cancer recently took the life of a friend, and I know she showed the power of a loving God as she walked through her suffering graciously and full of faith. My husband works with former refugees who, in spite of their extreme difficulties, witness joyfully to God’s work in and through them. And my daughter and her husband are handling their squirrel problem with grace and wisdom.
God never leaves us to suffer alone. We know that because Jesus, fully God and fully man, came to earth to suffer and die for all the sin that we brought upon ourselves. Jesus suffered a horrible death for you and me so that we can live eternally with him and without tears, sin or death. He promised to be with us always, and I count on that.
God allows evil, yes, but Jesus, God himself, suffered the worst of it, and in doing so he has overcome the world and all the evil in it. As I wrote last week, God uses the struggles in our lives to bring us to maturity and so that we grow closer to him.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
And the squirrels.