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Disastrous decisions bring misery

Life's big questions:

Why does a God of love allow suffering in the world?

When disasters happen it is easy to play the blame game

EARTHQUAKES. Hurricanes. Tsunamis. Famine. The destruction of places and their populations by weapons of war.

When disasters happen, whether natural or manmade, it is easy to play the blame game. Whose fault is it?

God is often top of the list, prompting the age-old question: Why does a God of love allow so much suffering to happen?

It is a question that has baffled people for years, particularly as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis are natural occurrences that have been around for millennia.

It could be argued that humankind doesn’t always help itself in connection with these phenomena. We continue to build towns and villages where we know natural disasters might occur – often, because it is the cheap option, for occu­pation by some of the poorest people in a country.

Additionally, people’s greed and self­ishness can prevent the agricultural improvement that would remove the necessity for people in famine-struck areas to walk hundreds of miles in search of a better life. They can also lead to wars that result in the suffering of innocent people.

Those decisions were not made by God, but by people who have influence and authority, including some national leaders who are more interested in gaining power than improving lives. Our daily exposure to bad news confirms the reality of untold misery, suffering and loss of innocent life.

The Bible tells us that ‘God created mankind in his own image’ to inhabit the world he had made (Genesis 1:27 New International Version). And God didn’t want to manipulate humans as if they were puppets. He gave us the gift of free will to make our decisions.

Such a gift comes with a responsibility. The same God of love who created the beautiful world we inhabit wants – and expects – us to do our part to keep it that way, for all the people in it.

When bad things happen, rather than just questioning God, perhaps we should question ourselves about what we can do to help those who are suffering.

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