You have not been forsaken - Pastor says God is in the midst of all tragedies
There have been a lot of atrocities committed across the world and especially here in Jamaica. Many in anger and hurt, look to God in whom they have placed their faith. However, they feel betrayed that, He, the all-powerful God who can prevent anything, allowed bad things to happen.
Is He as loving as He claims, is the gospel a fiction and if it is not, why didn't God rescue His people instead of allowing evil to conquer?
These and other questions have left believers baffled, some questioning their faith, feeling powerless as they have lost their loved ones to senseless violence and illnesses in spite of the many prayers invested.
Bridging the gap between confusion and hurt is not an easy task, but Darren McKoy, pastor of Church of God in Jamaica and author of the book Real Answers For Real People said strange as it may sound, God can at times be silent in such moments.
"One of the many things that God can be considered to be is a counsellor. Many times counsellors will tell you that the best way that you can help someone who is grieving is to say nothing. God sometimes allow us to go through our grieving process without saying anything. That does not mean that He is not present and that He has abandoned you," he said, sharing that God chooses to be there, but to be quiet in time of grief.
"However, most times even in His silence, you can sense His presence which proves to be a sense of comfort to that person," he said.
ALLOWING VS CAUSING
For those who think that God should override every evil, McKoy said there is a difference between "allowing" and "causing" persecution.
He said God will not deliberately place persecution in a Christian's life, but He will allow it.
"One of the things that we fail to understand about God, is the fact that He is Sovereign...being Sovereign means that He chooses to do whatever He wants, primarily because of who He is. However, He tends to allow persecution to bring out His purpose, to develop our strength and to bring honour to His name," McKoy points out.
With God being all-powerful, it is natural for Christians to expect Him to prevent it all from happening in the first place. Acknowledging that God has that power, he said God will not always go that route as it would have prevented the purpose He wants to accomplish.
"I would also say that preventing it does not mean that it will make things or situations better. How many times have we said that, "I'm glad this happened because I would not have learnt this?" So yes, He could have, but He chooses not to."
It is hard to swallow when a person who has dedicated their lives to philanthropy, service to God's work and other great deeds go through unspeakable suffering, while those consider evil just seem to bloom.
Addressing this, McKoy said bad things often happen to good people, but reminds it can happen to anyone.
"Bad things are not just reserved for bad people. As a matter of fact, sometimes good things happen to bad people and we may also question that. So it is always possible that bad things will happen to good people.
McKoy also reminds doubters to bear in mind that in relation to God, no one is necessarily good.
"The Bible clearly states that "no one is righteous, no not one". Therefore, he said, though one may be saved, it does not follow through that coverage will be given from problems and persecution.
McKoy told Family and Religion that the important thing to note is that God is interested in all areas of our lives.
"He is interested when we are happy as well as when we are hurting. No He does not cause pain, but it will come and He will allow it. It is important to note however, that we must always have a knowledge that He is there. We may not always feel it, but we must know it!"