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 A personal msg
    from Randall

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 A candid response from a hurting subscriber:

"I am a Christian, but feel that the suffering in the world is so terrible that it is hard to imagine how a loving God can look down upon a starving child without doing something." 

"I have to somehow hang on to the belief that God is our father and will look after and protect His children.  That is the only thing I hold onto in my walk with Him." 

"I find that even going to church is depressing, because you find yourself terrified of what further "trials and pain" the "church's God" has in store for you next.  I cannot live like that any longer, and only my own concept of God keeps me believing."

 My response:

I understand what you are saying.  There is much pain in the world, and it is quite easy to reason how a loving God could allow such pain to continue.  This is a deep and complex subject, but allow me to offer these thoughts.

I like to present difficult concepts in "word pictures" to make them a bit easier to understand.  I'll attempt to do that here. 

When you read Genesis, to put it in a 21st century "picture", God essentially "leased" this planet to the human race through Adam.  He gave Adam complete control, authority, and dominion over it.

Imagine that you owned a house that you rented to someone.  After the lease was signed, you found that your tenants were doing something you didn't like in the house.  Could you just go into the house, take the keys from them, and do what you wanted inside the house?

Legally, you could not.  If you tried, you would probably end up in court or in jail!  Even though you owned the property, you couldn't enter it unless the tenant invited you in.  You couldn't do anything inside the house unless the renter gave you permission to do so.

That is the "picture" of planet Earth now.  God gave dominion of this planet to Adam and his descendants.  Adam gave his rights to this planet to Satan (in what I believe was an act of treason against God) in Eden.  For God to step in and usurp that authority now would violate His own law.  He would, in modern terms, be in "breach of contract".  Even though what is going on here is evil, it is still "lawful".  (Remember, God gave dominion of this planet to Adam, and Adam gave it to Satan.)

As proof of the above, read what Satan said to Jesus in Luke 4:6:  "And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to."  Note that Jesus didn't dispute what Satan said, because it was correct.  The authority had been given to him (Satan) and he could give it to anyone he pleased.  Think about it.  If he was wrong, Jesus would have corrected him.

Later in the New Testament, by His atonement sacrifice on the cross, we see where Jesus regained the authority that Adam lost (John 19:30, Col. 2:15, et al), but legal possession of the "property" (this planet) does not happen until the events prophesied in the book of Revelation.  There, you see the "picture" where "the lease runs out", He "evicts the tenant", and He takes possession of the "property" again, once for all.

One of the "oldest tricks in the book" is to do something bad, then switch blame to someone else.  That is, I believe, what Satan has done in proffering the reasoning that God is responsible for all the bad in the world and He could stop it if He was such a loving God as He says He is.  (Back to Eden, Satan's question to Eve, "Did God really say...")

For God to work here, He must be invited in and given authority by one of the "tenants", a human being.  He can work in a life to the degree He is given authority, but to intervene on a mass scale would violate every principle He has set in motion.  (As well, most people who claim to give Him authority in their lives actually give Him very little "room to work".)

I also agree that there is much pain in "church", but again, understand -- that pain is inflicted by people, not by God.  He is the only one that can heal and restore.  I am convinced that God is not a "child abuser".  He does not intentionally inflict pain on us.

Go to our website, and read two previous "One Minute Messages", titled, "The Purpose of Pain", and "Pain is Pain".  They can be found at <http://www.e-min.org/ommarchive.htm>

These may help give you a different view of the pain you feel.

I have experienced much pain in my life, but that pain, rather than making me bitter, has deepened and strengthened my relationship with God through understanding my relationship with Him and discovering what is "really important" in my life.  I hope you will find the same to be true for you.

I hope this helps. Thank you for sharing your heart with me.

G. Randall Vaughn


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