O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Emmanuel - God With Us.
When we consider the problem of why there is evil in the world, alongside that question we need to ask also why there is good!
If God only created one choice, that of choosing good, then there would be no choice at all. As Augustine put it:
"Such is the generosity of God's goodness that He has not refrained from creating even that creature which He foreknew would not only sin, but remain in the will to sin. As a runaway horse is better than a stone which does not run away because it lacks self-movement and sense perception, so the creature is more excellent which sins by free will than that which does not sin only because it has no free will."
So then, we still ask questions about evil, and why God doesn't do something about it. After all, when little children are gunned down, or when a supposedly "good" person loses his or her life while doing good, and it seems as if the forces of evil prevail, then our hearts cry out and ask "Why, Lord?"
But the question has already been answered, if we will but look at Emmanuel, God with us.
Before we accepted Jesus, we were truly without hope, because we were without God. God was far away. He was not "with us". But He is now! In the person of Jesus, God came to be "with us". And, where God is, evil is not present.
But the scoffer would say "That's fine, but I still know that bad things happen to good people, even people of God who have Jesus with them"
But was Jesus Himself familiar with evil? Yes He was. From the time He was born, violence was all around. Herod ordered the murder of infants in Bethlehem. If it were not for Jesus' parents heeding the warning to leave Bethlehem, Jesus may have been one of those casualties, but it was not yet Jesus' time, that was for later. In due time, God did not even spare His own Son, in that He allowed Jesus to suffer the ultimate indignity by dying on a cross of torture.
So, was that "fair"?
No, of course it wasn't. It wasn't fair that the only innocent human should have to suffer violence and death in a hideous way. But He did, and He did with full assent of His Father, and full compliance with His Father's will.
So why did God NOT prevent it?
Because to have prevented it would have allowed evil to triumph! If evil had triumphed, God would have shown that He is not omnipotent, and that He does not have full control of everything, including evil.
The ultimate triumph of good over evil happened at the resurrection of Jesus. The power of the grave was broken, and fear of death no longer had the rule.
So fast forward to us today. We who are in Christ are told that we have passed from death to life. We have been resurrected, from an "old man" to a "new man" So we, too, have shared in His death. Our life is no longer our own, because we are bought and paid for.
If then evil visits us, what of it? Can it take our eternal life? No, absolutely not! Can it cause us to lose our salvation? No, absolutely not, for our life is sealed in Christ, who has all power.
Where then does evil have its power over us? I suppose the answer to that has to do with how one reacts to it. We are told from scripture that whoever we follow, that person has the power over us. If evil visits us or our household, or we see it happen to the ones we love, the sorrow is very real. Evil is ugly, and it hurts. Jesus also saw evil in the faces of His torturers, yet He still loved them when He asked the Father to forgive them. Jesus reacted to evil by overcoming it with love.
We are not promised that evil will not come upon us. Innocent or not, bad things still do happen to good people.
But yet, God is with us. Good is present for those in whom God is well pleased. The Comforter makes it possible to survive all evil. In fact, it not only makes it possible to survive, but to thrive.
In the universe God designed, He made evil as a necessary thing. He did it so that we could, in faith, make the decision to follow that which is good, and turn our backs on evil. But He did not leave us defenseless. He gave us Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. All things do indeed work together for good, to those who are called, who are in Christ, and He in them.