It's been awhile since I have done a Mormon Monday! I have a few questions in my inbox I am planning on answering, one by one. This week, the question is from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous.
Q: I am not a very religious person but when I see religious people like you who are so happy, I wonder what you think about this. Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? There is so much evil in the world. Why doesn't he intervene?
A: I had a difficult time understanding this as I was growing up. There was a time in my life where I truly said, out loud, that I hated God for Him taking away certain people in my life away from me. I didn't understand the plan then, I don't fully understand it now, but I have a much better understanding. Firstly, might I talk about why God allows temptation & sin.
The Book of Mormon teaches (2 Nephi 2:16) that "God gave unto man that he should act for himself. Wherefore, man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed by the one or the other." We believe that at the final judgment, God wants people with a cart full of righteous selections, even though sin was right there in front of them to choose. I like to look at it like this. If there was someone plotting to murder another person, God isn't going to step in. Correct? Because we have our free agency. If God stepped in every evil situation, there would be no point on this Earth. God does not take away free agency. As Elder Busche put it, "In your life, there have to be challenges. They will either bring you closer to God and therefore make you stronger, or they can destroy you. But you make the decision of which road you take."
But what about God allowing bad things to happen to good people? Unfortunately, God's plan is not a plan of ease and comfort; it is a plan of salvation. In order for God to get us from where we are to where He wants us to be, we each must be stretched and given opportunities to grow. And, as we all know, growth often entails some discomfort and pain. If we are to develop Godlike attributes like forgiveness, then God must allow us to occasionally be hurt by others. If we are to learn humility, then some disappointment is necessary.
Do YOU have a question about the LDS church? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and your question could be featured on future Mormon Monday posts!