In one of our classes at school recently we were posed with a question: Why did God chose this world to perserve freedom and defeat evil?
This got me thinking a little bit about my hometown. There has been around a dozen people in the past two years whom I either grew up with, knew their children, or by way of my parents-- who has recently left this earth unexpectedly. Many people in this small tight-knit community are saddened by this fact and it leaves us wondering the age old question, why does God let bad things happen to good people? Why does God let anything bad happen? How can a God who is all about love, allow a world to have evil or sorrow in it?
Which gets me back to the original question which our class was challenged to answer. Because God does love us, He has given us a free will. We can either choose Him and be a part of His family, or we can choose to live a part from Him. We know that being 'in sin' is living apart from God. If we want to live in the mainstream pop culture and "fit in" with what the world says is cool, then are we really living according to God's will for our lives?
God calls us to be a holy people. This is only done out of our love for Him, living in constant fellowship with Him, and allowing His power, given to us by His Holy Spirit, to choose what is right and true. I used to live to do what pleased Misty. I chose to make bad choices and turn away from the Lord's light and path for me. But I think everyone comes to a crossroads at some point in their life where they have to decide: Will I choose life or do I choose "self-pleasing", the world, and ultimately death? It may not be that clear to everyone, but it really is our own individual decision. I praise the Lord for my 'opportunity' at a young age (25) to come to the crossroads and see clearly the path of destruction versus the path to His Kingdom.
Jesus said in John 15:9, "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, as I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." (NIV) So living a Christian life may be hard. We will suffer here. There will exist for a time, pain, sorrows, grieving, and hurt. All this has its place as God gives us freedom to make choices and ultimately, should we choose His way, we will no longer have pain and sorrow in heaven with Him.
So why here why now is our freedom preserved and evil allowed? This may not be the best possible situation, but it is the best way to the best world. If God is to both preserve freedom and defeat evil, then he has to ensure that each person is given the chance to make his own free choice to determine his destiny. Evil is overcome in that, once those who reject God are separated from the others, the decisions of all are made permanent. Sin will cease to exist. The ultimate goal for God's perfect world after judgment with free humans will have been achieved, but He can only do it by casting out those who abuse their freedom.
"I have told you these things, so that in me, you can have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." --Jesus, (John 16:33 NIV)