The Reason for God

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. Reference: Romans 8:28

I have been reading Tim Keller’s book, The Reason for God, over the past few days, and finding it a useful and insightful book. One of the questions Keller addresses is this: Why does God allow suffering and evil in the world? Among other things, Keller reminds us that many of us have seen much of our own personal growth happen as a result of bad things happening to us. Although we would never seek to go through these bad experiences, we can acknowledge that they have shaped us, often in good ways. He suggests, then, that if we can see in small ways how good things can happen from bad things, it is not unreasonable to believe that the infinite God can “in all things…work for the good of those who love” God, as Paul writes.

I think this is a helpful perspective, and I’d like to suggest that a kind of “virtuous circle” happens when we acknowledge God is trustworthy in small things: we learn to trust God in bigger and bigger things, through bigger and bigger trials. Unfortunately, sometimes this means that God even sends bigger things our way in order to increase our trust in him and our faithfulness to him. I say, “unfortunately,” because it is not easy. Sometimes, it feels too much to bear. When I’m in my right mind, I remember what Paul says soon after this:

Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I’d like to commend Keller’s book to you; it is structured around typical doubts that people (both Christians and non-Christians) have about God. Keller is respectful, modest and usually persuasive, and it may be that it will provide good hope to you or someone you know.