Of all the worthwhile charities out there today I know of just one that people universally support; St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I don't mean to say that everyone financially supports the hospital, but I have never heard anyone publicly rant and rave that the organization is crooked or the whole thing is just a scam to rip people off. Why do you think that is?
For one, they have given no reason to make such accusations. Not only was our son one of their patients; he also worked for them right out of college. So I know first hand that they are honest and spend the vast majority of donations to make sick kids better.
Secondly, children who are ill is a universal concern and anyone who is actively engaged in making them better is widely supported. The underlying motivation is that we all hate to see children suffer. Which brings me to the reason for this post. The opposition to faith in God I encounter most often from unbelievers is the question of a good God and human suffering. How can the coexist?
No follower of Christ should ever consider this just a smokescreen used to avoid committing ones self to Christ by faith. It is a legitimate question not to be taken lightly. I've presided over too many graveside services of young children. I've left the hospital sick with emptiness after watching a mom stubbornly lose her fight for life to think this is a diversion. I have had to struggle with it myself.
What I have concluded has come from study, personal experience and observation. My wife and I experienced an unexplainable peace the night our son was diagnosed with cancer. I have talked with parents who have experienced that same peace even after death took their child away. What I have come to realize is that God does not alleviate all our pain or even remove us from the horrible consequences of evil. That is the issue I have never been able to settle. God does not remove His followers from the consequences of sin in a fallen world. If I am allowed to ask Him someday I certainly will.
However, one truth I have learned. He does not desert us in our pain. He may not eradicate evil from the world, but neither does He leave us to face it alone. I have known Him in the hospital room. I have felt His presence at the cemetery. I have watched Him dry the eyes of a crying child. In a sense, we are never closer to God than when we are in trouble or in pain. I have observed those who have neglected or rejected His love in good times embrace Him in their pain. Even after long periods of silence and tears He has broken through the darkness when those tears have achieved their divine purpose; to make us thirsty for His presence.
So I have learned that the reality evil does not obscure God. It is His invitation to know Him better. If it were not for pain we may have no need for Him. So many who try and alleviate the pain through drugs, experiences or isolation also miss an appointment with God. The substance or experience become a poor substitute for meeting with the Almighty.
So while I cannot explain why a good God allows evil and pain. I am eternally thankful He does not leave me to face them alone.