We’ve all surely heard it asked or asked it ourselves: “If God is good, why does He allow massive tragedies to happen?” It’s a valid question, but it also misses the point. Because we have already seen that the darkness of the sin in each human heart is brought about by disobedience to God, we know that sin (and pain and brokenness) are constantly present in this world. We see heartache and it upsets us because we were made to enjoy rightness in the world. However, the rebel soul wants to enjoy that rightness in all things without being subject to the King of Righteousness, Jesus.
So whether the question of God’s goodness arises from true curiosity or from a heart of resentment, the answer is the same. God will allow the painful consequences of sin to affect us (some admittedly more than others), but we must remember three things. First, God shows mercy, and we do not suffer all that we possibly could suffer. When Pharaoh had the dream, God did not have to have Joseph on hand to give warning of the coming famine. If he had dismissed the dream when his magicians couldn’t help him interpret it, he would have had no preparation for the massive loss of life to follow. Did God prevent the famine? No. But he gave warning of it, and that was mercy.
Another thing to remember is that when we do suffer, we are being given the opportunity to see the big picture in a way we can’t when we coast along through life. Crisis puts us on high alert, and that is what often saves our lives in an emergency. What if the same is true of heartbreak putting us in a state of alertness to God that our souls might be saved?
Finally, God sometimes allows us to suffer great pain, but He never enjoys our pain. That’s not the way God works. God doesn’t create so that He can destroy. Destruction is Satan’s area of expertise and delight. If you or someone you know is suffering, God knows about it, and He is an ever-present help in times of need. He takes no joy in either seeing His faithful persecuted or in seeing the fool persist in rebellion.
So if you want a new question to ponder, maybe it should be: Why does Satan insist on destroying everything that God creates as beautiful?
“After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing my the Nile, and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. And Pharaoh awoke. And he fell asleep and dreamed a second time. And behold, seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk And behold, after them sprouted seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind. And the thin ears swallowed up the seven plump, full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and behold, it was a dream. So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh.
“Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, ‘I remember my offenses today. When Pharaoh was angry with his servants and put me and the chief baker in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, we dreamed on the same night, he and I , each having a dream with its own interpretation. A young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. When we told him, he interpreted our dreams to us, giving an interpretation to each man according to his dream. And as he interpreted to us, so it came about. I was restored to my office, and the baker was hanged.’
“Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they quickly brought him out of the pit. And when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came in before Pharaoh. and Pharaoh said to Joseph, I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream, you can interpret it.’ Joseph answered Pharaoh, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.’ – Genesis 41:1-16
Pharaoh proceeds to retell the dream to Joseph.
“Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, ‘The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. the seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine. It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There will come seven years of great plenty through all the land of Egypt, but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God , and God will shortly bring it about. Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh proceed to appoint overseers over the land and take one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt during the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it. That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.” – Genesis 41:25-36