There are many reasons people walk away from faith or even deny the existence of God. One of the most common is that they can’t come to terms with the idea that a good and loving Lord would allow the violence, cruelty, and injustice that flash across every day’s headlines. Some think our earth has only gotten worse since Jesus walked it, but of course, the lust for power, wealth, and favor has always driven men to such behaviors. The question is why does God allow it?
The answer is really very simple. God created man with free will. From the start He gave direction, commandments…rules. But He never forced the choice. The choice has always been and always will be ours to make. And we, and those whose lives we touch, reap the consequences–good or bad.
Another reason people turn away from God is that they can’t understand why He would allow the awful pain and suffering that comes through illness or natural disasters–circumstances not caused by human hands. Why do a desperate parent’s prayers for a child’s healing go unanswered? This is much more challenging to explain. Truthfully, I can’t supply an answer that would satisfy everyone, because I don’t believe any human can. There are many things about life we mortals simply can’t understand.
But I can offer the following: I don’t think there is any time that speaks to Christ’s humanness more than when He was on His knees in the garden of Gethsemane asking His Father to let all the agony, pain, and betrayal He was about to endure, just go away. He asked this not once but twice, saying He was “sorrowful unto death”. He knew in every horrific detail what He was about to face. He’d come to earth for it. He’d told His disciples about it, even though they couldn’t understand or accept it. And still at the last hour, He wanted out. Although He truly was God the Son, how totally and completely human He was as well! But each time He prayed, He told His Father that He would do whatever His Father wanted: “…yet not my will, but yours be done”.
Now there can be no doubt how deeply the Father loved the Son. The bond between them was like no other. They were, and are, indivisibly connected, one part of the other for all eternity. And yet when the Son prayed to the Father, on His knees, on the eve of His crucifixion, and asked that the cup of agony and death pass from His lips…His Father said no.
Why? Because of His love for us. He asked His Son to do the unthinkable…for us. And because Jesus loved His Father, and because He loved us too, He did what only He could do…give up His life for our eternity.