Source: Congregationalist and Christian World
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Why Does God Permit It”
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 86
Issue number: 37
|“Why Does God Permit It.” Congregationalist and Christian World 14 Sept. 1901 v86n37: p. 380.|
|McKinley assassination (religious interpretation).|
|Jesus Christ; William McKinley.|
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 permitted it?
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.”