I think we call could agree that 2020 didn’t reintroduce the roaring 20s that we were expecting. The only roar is the wail of brokenness that seems to be radiating from every corner of the earth. A global pandemic kept us isolated while some died. People lost jobs and the economy began to spiral. The unjust death of multiple black Americans lead to rioting and some looting. In addition to all this, there are the individual hurts that seem to be prevalent at all times: mental health issues, disease, relational issues, death, struggle, so on. Everything just seems so broken.
All this hurt leads to this common question: if God is good, why is there so much bad in the world?
We are broken, and its not our fault.
God didn’t create this world to be so broken. He did not create people to hurt or hate. In fact, after each day of creation, he declared all he had made as good (Genesis 1). There was nothing bad in the earth he created…yet.
In the garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived and walked with God, there was only one rule. They could do whatever they wanted. They could run and talk and have sex and eat any thing, except for the fruit of one tree. That was the only command. “But the Lord God warned him, ‘You may eat the fruit of every tree in the garden– except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.'” Genesis 2:16-17 It wasn’t long before the devil started tempting Eve though. He reasoned that they surely wouldn’t die if they were to disobey. So they ate the forbidden fruit and immediately were filled with shame (Genesis 3:1-7). God banished them from the garden to live life outside of God’s presence and original design.
The death brought by the first sin was not immediate. Rather, it was slow and painful passing from generation to generation. It is why innocent people die from injustice or disease. It is why businesses that people poured their life into get destroyed from vandalism and economic shutdown. It is why marriage and parenting bring such heartache. The death ensued by Adam and Eve we still taste today.
Gregory Koukl put it clearly in his book The Story of Reality, “And here we come to a critical point in the story: The thing that went wrong with man caused what went wrong with the world. The world is broken because we are broken. Our badness made the world go bad.”
We are broken, and it’s all our fault.
Before we think we’re getting off scot free, we need to recognize that sin didn’t stop at the original sin. It didn’t stop at Hitler or the abolition of slavery. It hasn’t stopped. It will never stop until the new heaven and earth arrive.
Many like to reason that while there’s a few bad apples, most people are inherently good. But Jesus says that ideology just isn’t so. In Mark 10:18 Jesus states that “no one is good — except God alone.” This devastates the thought that there is more good than bad in people: that there is more good than bad in you and in me.
Romans 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory if God.” While our broken nature, not us directly, may have brought on a global pandemic, our personal sin ushers brokenness into our lives as well. We have relational problems because we act with selfish motives. We struggle financially because we’re not good stewards of our money. We get hurt because we act recklessly. Even some diseases and sicknesses are caused by our lack of caution.
We are simultaneously the victim and the assailant in our own brokenness.
So why doesn’t God do anything?
Is it good to barge into someone’s house? If you ask me, I would say absolutely not! The first couple times you do that to me, you will get a glare and be snubbed a little short in conversation. If you keep it up, you will be told that’s no long acceptable and eventually not even welcome over. I believe this is godly (or that’s what I tell myself) because God says he would never do that to us. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Jesus doesn’t bust into our lives. He’s not knocking down doors that are shut. Just like I would like to invite people into my home if they call ahead and knock on the door before entering, God wants to be invited in. In fact, he will only come into your life and heal your brokenness if you let him. Relationships only thrive when there is mutual desire for them. We cannot truly love God if he kicks down our door to fix our problems. That would be outside of our free will and therefore outside of love and goodness.
God doesn’t swoop in and wipe away every broken aspect of life because we have yet to invite him into every aspect of our lives. As much as it breaks my heart, some people never will open the door at his knocking. And even as Christians we tend to throw him back outside the door when our own way seem more enticing that the life he designed for us. Because of those two things, this side of heaven, we will always have brokenness. But brokenness does not signify the lack of a good God. Rather, it highlights the need for a loving Savior.