I was one of the paramedics on call that day on our little volunteer EMS service. I had found a great ministry in volunteering with EMS while serving as a local minister.
When we arrived on scene we began CPR immediately. It was not long before we loaded the little girl in the ambulance and called for the medical helicopter out of a nearby town to meet us on the outskirts of town.
We worked feverishly in the back of the ambulance to save the little girl or at least extend her life long enough to get her to a hospital. In what seemed like just minutes we were transferring her care to the flight medics on the helicopter.
As the helicopter was taking off, the mother of the little girl frantically ran up to me. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she wailed, “Trey, tell me God won’t take my baby. Tell me God won’t take my baby.” And then she stopped and waited for me to answer. I didn’t have an answer. I was absolutely stumped.
She had asked a question that every one of us who believe in God will dare to ask sooner or later. If God is good and God is great why do innocent people suffer. So many have given an effort to explain why God won’t or can’t protect innocent people.
I didn’t have an answer for that mother that day. I’m not sure that I have an answer today, but I have given it a lot of thought. I’d like to share with you three quick responses to the question, “If God is great and God is good, why do the innocent suffer?”
First response: That is a fair question. It’s okay to ask that question. Somewhere we’ve been given the idea that if we ask why the innocent suffer, it is a sign of unbelief or a challenge to God. Not so. The Bible asks the question often. Even Jesus quoted the 22nd Psalm, as he hung on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” It’s a fair question. Not a question of unbelief or a challenge to God.
Second response: I don’t know. The Bible never gives an answer. I don’t know why the innocent suffer, but I do know that sandwiched up against the blackness of evil is the brightness of good. Ultimately I do know that God will not leave evil unanswered. I think there is a day coming when all of the crooked things will be made straight, all of the dark things will be made bright, and all of the innocent will be vindicated. I think that is what the cross of Christ is all about, and the resurrection is God’s declaration that eventually things will go right.
Third response: Good is God’s character and no matter what happens in this world, that can’t change. What I’m saying is you can focus on the good in God or the evil in the world. I hope you have found enough goodness in the world to choose to keep lighting candles instead of cursing the darkness.
“Trey, tell me God won’t take my baby!” I can still hear those word like it was yesterday. If God is great and God is good, why do the innocent suffer? That is a fair question. I don’t know, but I do know there is a goodness in this world that cannot be explained outside of a God who loves you and me. So it’s okay to hold up your head and go forward.