I grew up being a big Elton John fan and I remember a song from one his less popular albums, “Blue Moves” , called “If there is a God in Heaven”. The chorus went
“If there is a God in Heaven
What's he waiting for
If He can't hear the children
Then he must see the war”
the sad events of this week with the stabbing of Casey Kearney in Doncaster and a vicar John Suddards,of Thornbury near Bristol, will have left many asking the same question, or probably more like “ what sort of a God allows a 13 year old girl to get stabbed and killed?”
Such questions are echoed in all families when a loved ones die. The venom behind the question often fuelled by the pain felt by the person asking the question. Whether it is an elderly parent dying from altziemers, a beloved partner ravaged by cancer, a friend killed suddenly by a hear attack, the question comes why? God why have you allowed this to happen? The pain is always more heartfelt when a child dies, and this is a child of any ages, the death of a child before a parent always causes such anguish and grief, it is the untimeliness of it all.
So what is God playing at? I have no easy answers just my own thoughts, I hope they may be helpful at this time.
The first place to start is that God does not force us to believe in God. We are allowed the choice, God gives the freedom of our minds to believe or not to believe. When you watch children at play they create such elaborate set ups with pieces of lego, plastic people, soft toys; but the toys do not have the choice they are controlled by by the children. God does not control us, God has a plan for us , but God does not control us like a remote control toy. God allows us to live our own lives, he would prefer that we seek out the plan there is for us, but we are not forced to follow the plan.
In this way human kind has developed it own culture in different parts of the world, sometime open to God' plan sometimes not open.
I am also a Star Trek fan and during the evolution of the series they developed a definition of a life form as “senescent being capable of knowing its own will”. In many science fiction films and series , the story line resolves about some technology that has become so clever it knows its own mind and exerts its own will. What ever robot has “become free thinking”, as soon as the humans have got it under control again, the danger passes because the robot no long can freely think.
So when bad things are happening if God intervenes, we become merely robots, in many ways we lose our humanity, our free thinking.
Now you may be saying, what then is the place of prayer? Well, yes through pray, God does intervene in our world but only by our asking, as an answer to prayer. We are free to pray or not to pray, but importantly we again have the choice, the free will to choose.
The second point is then God sheds tears with us. God will be weeping over every sad death this week, whether it makes national headlines or not, he feels our pain, shares our grief. God understands because he sent his Son Jesus down to earth to experience what our lives were like, to live among us, and more importantly show us how to live our lives.
The third point is that Jesus, God's own son died an agonising death on a cross, if God could have intervened without making us robots, then do not you think God would have. One of the most difficult situation a parent can face is the pain of a child that cannot be relieved. The parent wants is left helpless. Jesus even cries out on the cross “my God, my God why have you forsaken me?”
Of course God does not leave his Son dead but illustrates our future, by bring Jesus back from the dead, raised to a new life, which we too can experience after our death, cleverly not by making us slavish believers but again giving us the choice to believe in God but also what God did to his son Jesus.
I hope thee thoughts help all who are asking the questions of God at this point. He wants our believe, freely.