Dear Mr. Wilson:
I have been living in hell for the past ten years. Our daughter was raped and murdered in 1999. She was a wonderful person, my best friend. We raised her two children, they are now 20 and 22. My husband and I have tried to hide our sorrow and anger from the children, but sometimes it spilled out. My bitterness toward her murderer and God is devouring me from the inside out.
Her murderer has not been captured and my heartache is endless. I cannot count the number of days that I have spent crying. Even on my best days, I am hurting. If there is a God of love, why does He permit injustice to ruin so many lives? I need some answers. The rapist is probably free and has no remorse. Please don’t tell me to trust in God and everything will work out.
Jean (not her real name)
Thank you for your letter. I am pleased that you are reaching out for help and I am happy to respond to your question. The loss of a child is a terrible tragedy and losing a child through predatory violence has to be most agonizing. My heart is stirred at the ever expanding circle of suffering that one predator imposed upon you and your family ten years ago.
Many people experience involuntary suffering after a deep emotional injury occurs. Endless sorrow is highly distressing, but the good news is that recovery is possible. I have seen people regain their balance through counselors and support groups. Also, if you have not seen a physician recently, why not have a check up?
Lengthy sorrow can alter body chemistry and a little adjustment by a good doctor can help make a difference! The truth about God is interesting and emotionally helpful, but please find a counselor who can help you discover your purpose in life. You are alive because God has a purpose for you and fulfilling that purpose will bring much joy.
Note: Jean’s situation illustrates a human dilemma. I thought her question might be helpful to those of us who will face the Great Tribulation, because a time is coming when millions of Christians will experience violence and gross injustice because they must stand firm in their faith.
Unfortunately, many Christians are not prepared intellectually, spiritually, or emotionally to deal with persecution. Remember the words of Jesus, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Jesus will give us the grace and strength to meet every challenge if we abide in Him. (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9)
“Why does God permit injustice?” This is an ancient question. In fact, the oldest book in the Bible (the book of Job) is devoted to this question. God permits injustice to exist because He predetermined billions of years ago that sin should be allowed to exist for a finite amount of time.
Why did God decide to allow sin to exist? God’s greatest problem is not the current existence of sin; instead, His greatest problem is preventing sin from occurring a third time. This requires a little explanation.
Before sin existed, Heaven was a happy place. There was no injustice, heartache, sickness, violence, or death. After 6,000 years of sin, I am sure we all agree that Heaven then was a wonderful place to be. Back then, there was no knowledge of such things. Only God knew about good and evil until sin began.
The angels were innocent and naive. They were happy because they had no predisposition for wrong doing. We would say they lived as “very sheltered” children until the day that Lucifer became unhappy with God’s ways. The Bible reveals that pride led the devil to complain that God was unfair, arbitrary, and could not be trusted.
One third of the angels listened to Lucifer and they sided with him. Their disaffection for God led to war. Lucifer and his angels were cast out of Heaven. (Isaiah 14:12–17; Ezekiel 28:12–17) Even though God expelled Lucifer and his angels for rebellion, He did not destroy them for these reasons:
1. If God had destroyed Lucifer and his angels as soon as they sinned, surviving angels would have concluded that God was indeed a dictator who did not tolerate opposition. Think about this: If God had destroyed Lucifer and his angels before the fruits of good and evil matured, highly intelligent angels would not be able to love and trust a god who quickly annihilated beings who disagreed with Him.
Should angels love God because God is love (that is, should they love Him because He truly is wise, patient, fair, reasonable, generous, and forgiving), or should angels submit to God because sudden death is the penalty for voicing disagreement? If God had killed Lucifer and his followers before the fruits of rebellion had matured, the remaining angels would have concluded that God is a divine bully. He could claim to be a God of love, but His actions would appear to prove that Heaven is either a place of total submission or instant death.
2. God’s foremost concern is the eternal happiness of His children. He has infinite wisdom and perfect foreknowledge. His ways are perfect and His actions are consistent with principles of love. God foreknew that sin on Earth needed a few thousand years to mature.
God foreknew that a watching universe needed to understand the deadly and horrible consequences of sin. By allowing the devil and his angels to live, God has provided the universe with two contrasting governments to study – one in Heaven (free of rebellion, full of joy and happiness) and one on Earth (full of sin, decadence, depravity, selfishness, violence, and death). By permitting these two governments to simultaneously exist, God has enabled intelligent beings to see the difference for themselves. He does not have defend Himself. The evidence speaks for itself.
3. God grants the power of choice to His children. He also holds each of us accountable for our actions. This means that we do not have to obey God, love Him, or respond to His goodness or generosity. Lucifer and his angels have proven that free will exists. They chose to rebel against God and His laws.
Adam and Eve also have proven that free will exists; they chose to disobey God. For 6,000 years, sin has flourished on Earth. History has proven over and over again (with the rise and fall of numerous civilizations) that human begins suffer in direct proportion to their departure from the laws of God.
In other words, God’s laws are not for His benefit, but ours. Sin is intoxicating. Sin offers temporary pleasure and excitement, but it always extracts a price that is far greater than its benefit. Sin takes us farther than we want to go and costs more than we want to pay. No matter how well Satan disguises it, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) God has permitted sin and rebellion to mature so that intelligent people can see the difference between God’s order and Lucifer’s order. Once the curse of sin is removed from the universe, no one will ever want to sin again. “Been there, done that.”
4. Because the Father foreknew Lucifer’s rebellion and the consequences of allowing Satan and his angels to live, He created a plan to save everyone who would live on Earth. He loved the people of the world so much that He gave Jesus as an atonement for our sins.
For no other reason than love, Jesus was willing to become a man and die one of the harshest deaths known to man so the penalty for our sin could be paid! The Godhead has suffered more and paid a higher price for the existence of sin than any angel or human being will ever know! Incidently, God did not create a plan of salvation for Lucifer and his angels because they were confronted with the truth many times and they willfully and defiantly rejected God’s counsel. Lucifer and his angels committed the unpardonable sin. (Matthew 12:31–32)
When these four issues are synthesized, we see why God did not immediately destroy Lucifer and his rebellious angels. We see why sin has been permitted to exist and by extension, why God permits injustice to exist. Look around. Evil is overcoming good and this contest will soon reach a painful climax during the Great Tribulation.
The really good news is that after the current drama with sin is completed, sin will be no more. Injustice, heartache, sorrow, violence, and death will be gone forever! Never again will a mother senselessly lose a beloved child in a despicable act of violence. Never again throughout all eternity – even among a universe of beings having the power of choice – will sin rule! Amen!
When it comes to injustice, “God has an ace up His sleeve.” He has accurately recorded every injustice. At the Second Coming, God will take the saints to Heaven. During the 1,000 years, the saints will sit in judgment of the wicked with Jesus. (1 Corinthians 6:2–3; Revelation 20:6)
The saints will watch each episode of injustice and they will determine the amount of suffering each wicked person must experience in the fires of hell. In other words, Jean, if the man who murdered your daughter is not saved, he will be forced to suffer twice the amount of pain your daughter suffered. Then, this predator will also suffer for the family he hurt. God will see to it that justice is finally served. There is no revenge like God’s revenge. God’s justice will not be satisfied until the last penny has been repaid. (Matthew 5:26) So, be assured that “Justice Day” is surely coming.
Meanwhile, Jesus is anxious to set everyone free from bitterness if we are willing to “let go of it” and grasp something better. What is better than revenge? God’s answer is forgiveness! If we ask God each day for the strength to forgive those who have harmed us or our loved ones, a miracle will happen.
The glacier of hatred will begin to melt and evaporate. If we do not let go of bitterness and hatred, it will destroy us. The first step is ours. We must choose to forgive our enemies. Unless we do, our health will fail, relationships will sour, and our lives will be filled with sorrow and depression instead of the joy and happiness that God intended.
Remember this, Jean, your daughter belonged to you and God. He gave her life through you and you can be sure He knows the perpetrator by name and justice will be served. In the meantime, you need to experience the miracle of forgiveness, and it will surely happen if you will begin by asking God to help you do something you cannot do yourself. Ask God to fill your heart with love. Start praying for the perpetrator of this crime. He surely needs a transformation that only the Holy Spirit can produce.
He needs salvation and a knowledge of the Lord. He needs to confess his sins and make his wrongs right while there is still time. In God’s sight, he is a sinner and his penalty will be enormous. If you will begin to pray for him (regardless of your present feelings), you will be changed in the process.
God will set you free of bitterness. When Jesus sets you free, you will be free indeed! In place of anger and bitterness, God will bring peace and assurance. I know you told me not to tell you to trust in God, but the truth is, there is no other way—it is the key to success!
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:19–21)
I hope this helps!