Why Does God Permit It
Why does the Almighty Father allow
a miserable wretch to shoot down a man who bears in his hands the
welfare of many millions? Why does he not prevent the grief and
pain of near friends, the disturbance and loss to a great nation
and to the world which is sure to follow so wanton, causeless, terrible
destruction of life? These questions have been raised a great many
times, and they are not yet fully answered.
But some answer has been made which
brings light and comfort to those who trust in God. He permitted
the crucifixion of his own Son by lawless hands. The most wanton
crime of history has become a familiar story wherever Christianity
is known. Priests, rulers, people and soldiers heaped indignity
and tortures on the greatest benefactor of mankind, and finally
put him to the most shameful death they knew. How could God have
That problem has been solved by the
service wrought through that death for the redemption of mankind.
The whole world is enriched and blessed by the suffering of the
Son of Man. Nor was that work ended when Jesus suffered death by
wicked men. Other sufferings wrought by evil designs up to this
time continue to work out the redemption of mankind from the power
of evil. A great apostle said, “I fill up on my part that which
is lacking of the afflictions of Christ.” Sin is abhorred only when
its fruits are seen and felt. The people of this country have been
freshly aroused to its nature by the crime committed against the
President last week. They suffer in sympathy, they suffer because
of threatened loss to themselves, they suffer because through the
good-natured tolerance of criminals they in some sense share in
the guilt they detest. Our country will be morally better because
of the ordeal through which it is passing. Suffering rightly endured
is ministry to mankind. The sacrifices which Mr. McKinley and his
dearest friends and his people are making are not made in vain.
Some other gains already appear as
the result, through divine overruling, of this great crime. We have
a revelation of noble character, of unselfish courage, self-control,
a forgiving spirit in the chief sufferer. The noblest sentiments
of the nation are awakened and stronger trust of the people in one
another from the sense of sharing in a common trial. The feeling
of dependence on God is quickened, as is evidenced by the expression
of it quoted from many in whom we look for counsel in such a time
as this, and by the request from many governors of states that prayer
should be made for the recovery of the President. The sympathy of
mankind has been expressed in ways which bring the nations nearer
together, making war more unlikely, promoting a better understanding
and friendlier spirit among all men.
No nation is made strong and wise
and true through prosperity alone. Its best elements are brought
out through trial. The story of the ancient Israelites is the ideal
of national growth:
Thou hast tried us as silver is tried.
. . . . . . . . . . . .
We went through fire and water—
But thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.
The discipline of the almighty and merciful Father is and will
remain in a measure a mystery even to those who approach nearest
to him, but we can see enough of its meaning to be assured that
“to them that love God all things work together for good.”