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Bible Questions with Michael Pearl
Episode 088: Why does God allow Bad Things to Happen?

By Michael Pearl

This Week’s Bible Question:

If God is all Powerful and Loving, where is he when there is a Natural Disaster or other Horrible Tragedy?


Michael Pearl:  Hi, I'm Mike Pearl and I'm here to answer your Bible questions today. We have Jared behind the camera. So Jared, what's the first question that people have written in?

Jared:  If God is all‑powerful and loving, where is He when there's a natural disaster or other horrible tragedy?

Michael:  Where was God when an idiot was killing a bunch of people? I can tell you where He was. He was standing in the shadows, weeping. Same place He was in 33 A.D. when the Book of Matthew, Chapter 23, and in Luke, He speaks of, "A coming tragedy that would take place." He spoke of Jerusalem, that it would be leveled, that the children would all be killed, that there wouldn't be one stone left standing on another. And He told them, He said, "How often I would have gathered you together as a hen does her chickens, but you would not."

He knew that 37 years later, that most of the people in Jerusalem would be killed by the Romans, and He would love to have stopped it, but He said, "I would have gathered you together. I would have stopped this, but you would not."

It says in the Book of James, "You kill, you war, you lust, you desire to have, and you have not." Way back there in the Old Testament, we found the story of the flood. Again, God wept and He said, "It repents Me, that I've made man upon the earth, for every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually." God hates tragedy ‑‑ these things ‑ worse than we do, this killing, this violence. He would love to stop it, but we won't come to him.

Where was God when all this was taking place? The same place He is, when a doctor goes in to a back room and kills a little baby in a woman's womb. The same place where God is when wars are taking place, when missiles are coming in, when tragedies are happening on the highway, when children are being abused. When sexual molestation is taking place, when truckers are stopping and taking a little 14‑, 15‑year‑old girl for money. God is there and He's weeping.

You said, "And why doesn't God stop it?" Well, if I were a superhero, I understand the question, if I were a superhero, I would try to stop all kinds of things. I would stop people from jumping off buildings. I'd stop cars from wrecking, trains from running off the track. I would save everybody that I could.

So the assumption of the question is that God is all powerful, and if He's all powerful, then certainly He has the power to stop these things. The assumption of the question is that if you loved, if you really cared, then you would stop these events. And so, since God doesn't stop tragedy from taking place, then either He's not all powerful or if He is powerful, He doesn't care.

If He doesn't care, then the response is, "Then I don't care for Him," and so, many people reject God on the basis of God is either weak and ineffectual, or He's non‑caring ‑ otherwise, we wouldn't live in the kind of world we do.

You see, that's based on the assumption that we're all pinned on some strings, that like Pinocchio, Geppetto had Pinocchio on some strings, a little wooden boy. He danced him, and Pinocchio danced, and when Geppetto got tired of Pinocchio dancing, he laid him on a shelf. He just lay there, staring blankly. But Geppetto had a deep desire to have a boy. He had no family. He longed for Pinocchio to come alive. Well, a fairy comes along and gives Pinocchio a heart, gives him life, but he still has a wooden body.

But Pinocchio can now ‑ he's self‑motivated. He's self‑directing. He has his own free will. Then, with that free will, the little boy lied. He lied to his daddy. He took some money that he was given and he bought candy and he lied about it. When he did, his nose grew long. Of course, it grieved Geppetto, but then the little boy went out with some more boys, and he fell into temptation, he fell into sin, using his own free will. And when he did, he ended up as a jackass, with a long tail, and braying like a donkey.

He ended up in captivity in the bottom of the ocean, in a whale's belly. Now, that's the result of his own free choice. Now, Geppetto would have loved to have a boy that was obedient, that was cheerful, that was safe, but it was Pinocchio's own free will actions that led him to that terrible end.

Now, God made us with a free will. He made us with the ability to choose, to be self‑determinant, to determine our own direction in life. We can go up or we can down. We can come in or out. We can paint something black or white. We can lie or we can tell the truth. We can love or hate. We can kill or we can save lives. All that's within the power of us human beings.

And God's a gentleman, He doesn't break the door down. He doesn't come in and grab the strings and say, "I told you, you could choose, but you're choosing wrongly, so I'm grabbing the strings. I'm going to stop you from making your choices."

When He created us, He created us in His image, and being in His image, we are like Him with the power to choose. He's even called us, "Gods," in that we have that autonomy, that eternal consequences in everything that we do. And so, with those consequences, we face sometimes terrible ends.

Now, there were people who we would call "innocent" there that were killed. They were people who didn't deserve to die then and there. But the Bible says, "Time and chance happens to them all." In other words, God is not directing all the affairs. The Bible said that "Satan" in Second Corinthians 4:4, "is the God of this world." And he's running this world.

God, the Father, would love to take the reins and direct the world, but we ignore Him in our politics, we ignore Him in our faith, we ignore Him in our lives. We ignore Him every time we turn on the television or get on the computer. We ignore Him when we drive down the road. We ignore Him until something tragic happens, and then we stop ignoring Him and start blaming Him.

It's time for us to take the blame and realize that we're the ones that have failed. We're the ones that have ignored God, and kept Him from transforming us, so that our lives are built on love and grace and peace, not on hate and anger and violence. So that's where God was, weeping.


Voiceover:  If you would like to ask a Bible question, email us at [email protected] or call at 931‑805‑4820.


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15 comments on “Why does God allow Bad Things to Happen?”

  1. At what point has a parent failed their child in protecting them from tragedy through the parent's prayer? Is a parent's prayers effective before the age of accountability? Are they effective after? By effective I mean protective except when God has chosen a path we see as tragic to them but prehaps God has another purpose we do not see. Do the child's choices prevent God from answering the parent's prayer? Again, at what point? Do the parent's sins prevent God from answering even though the parent may think he or she is are ultimately seeking God?

    1. Sorry, did not see the bottom two boxes before submitting my question. This, therefore goes with my question re: parents praying for their children. Thank-you.

  2. Last yr I went thru an extremely harrowing ordeal. Pls visit where I explained what happened. We did this video so people can see God's awesome hand of direction and love, in an awful situation. Since then many have asked me why GOD would do this and I have had opportunity to tell a shortened version of what Mike said above. We need to be clear on this as Christians b/c many people leave God b/c they feel He did something or other and gets blamed when it is the dEVIL behind it all the time. I absolutely HATE when that happens. It grieves my heart.

  3. Excellent answer, Mike. Very well said.

    "Free will" is quite costly! Thankfully, Jesus paid the debt we incurred from our willful decision to sin. Natural consequences of sin will still happen. Adam's sin plunged the world in to having all the natural disasters that occur, and we can't blame that on God...just thank Him that someday He will make all things new.

    I'm glad the weeping will be over someday, the tears wiped away by the Lord Himself, and we will be rid of death and pain forever.

  4. Wow Bro Pearl you hit the nail on the head again. I had known this anwser but to convey it to others like you can is not something I am able to do. With the tragedy of the school children this is going straight to my Facebook page. Thank you again and Blessings

  5. This has got to be one of the most dangerous responses I've heard regarding evil in the world. This makes God out to be this impotent, helpless being subject to our wills.
    This is sad. I've liked some of the Pearl's teaching, but I'm more and more becoming disillusioned with his teachings. I just read somewhere that he teaches "sinless perfectionism". I haven't confirmed that yet, but if it is in fact true he teaches that, I will have to outright wholly reject this ministry and cease from recommending it to others in my sphere of influence. (not that this will slow NGJ's growth)

  6. I would like to ask a question. I agree that what you say is true. However, why does God not protect the innocent? The believers who do in fact honor Him, who pray and forgive their enemies? Why doesn't he prevent things like fires, hurricanes and tsunami from hurting the children? Why didn't he save all the babies from Pharoah? I am a christian since childhood. I believe in God and I believe that Jesus died for my sins and rose again. My uncle and some friends ask me these questions and I do not know what to say. I believe that God has our days numbered as the hairs on our heads. Some of us have fewer days that is all. But then there is the question of children being tortured and abused... why doesn't God protect them from evil people??? I can not find answer to this.

    1. Why do we fear, and so often consider death to be our greatest enemy? This is to be expected among unbelievers, but among the church it should not be so.

      Billy Graham once said ( to this effect) "War (or any other tragic , unexpected death) never has increased the death rate , all will die in one form or another."

      We should all believe and trust God in His Word . Romans 2;2 " But we are sure , that the judgment of God is according to truth , against them which commit such things" God alone is Perfect Judge over the innocent, the ignorant , as well as the evil . For Him let us live faithfully, that we might glorify Him through Christ Jesus.

      "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body , we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith , and not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent we may be excepted of him for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that everyone may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done whether it be good or bad . 2 Corinthians 5:6-11

      May we Christians see the only true enemy is sin not death!

      1. Thank you for those uplifting scriptures. The question is difficult I understand but this is not a question of my own belief or doubt... I understand that God loves me. My pain is for those who are lost without the holy spirit to comfort them and experience deep pain either as a result of their own loss or through watching others inflicted with horrible situations. I only wish to communicate God's love to them, I need an explanation to give.

  7. Thanks Mike, this question seems to be more of an excuse than someone wanting a reasoned answer. I like your answer however, quick and to the point.

  8. Yes. God is great.

    The millions of people who die from hunger, starvation, disease and famine chose not to believe in the one true God, probably because they were born into a different culture and geographic region, so it is their fault they suffer while, as Michael Pearl has said, God stands there weeping because even though he CAN prevent evil, he does not because he loves us.

  9. Dear Skyler,

    Do you believe we must live a life free of hunger, starvation, disease and famine in order for God to be good? Death will come to as all -most likely by one of the things listed above. What you seem to desire is heaven , but that promise is contingent on a living faith in Jesus Christ , Gods perfect Salvation .

    Please know- If we lived to be one million years old and suffered intensely everyday , it would be less than a blink of the eye -compared to eternity .

    God reveals Himself and His Godhead through creation, to every living soul , - all have the opportunity to come to Him for salvation . Romans 1:20

    Hunger , famine , disease , suffering ,and death is not the worse thing that can happen in this life . But rejecting Gods perfect salvation , Jesus is.

    I pray you truly seek after the Truth , Skyler , ask these hard questions , if you are sincere , God will answer all your doubts . Please meditate on Job 38-42


  10. Dear Skylar. I have had so many bad things happen in my life. Is it because I deserve it, I don't have salvation and I come from a "strange" culture. No, it's because of the sin of others. My salvation is still assured, no matter how satan attacks. Only through the Grace of God are we under the blood of Christ. You must do a study on the Grace of God to see the whole picture.
    Separation=Grace=Salvation=Eternal Life


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