Where Is God When Terrorism Happens? Billy Graham's Answer

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Billy Graham at the Birmingham crusade in the 1960s.
Billy Graham at the Birmingham crusade in the 1960s. (BGEA)

Simultaneous terrorist attacks in Paris. Suicide bombings in Beirut. Stabbings in Israel. Evil, it seems, is wrapping its dark fingers around every corner of the globe.

So where is God?

Here's what Billy Graham has to say:

Q.  Where is God in the midst of terrorism? Just look at all the wars in the world, or all the other terrible things that happen. They sure don't point to a loving God.

A. If we only look at the bad things in the world, we might conclude God doesn't care about us. But what do these wars and other tragedies point to? They point us to another reality: the reality of human sin.

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I agree with part of what you say: Our world's wars and other horrors don't necessarily point us to God's love. If we only look at the bad things in the world, we might conclude God doesn't care about us.

But what do these wars and other tragedies point to? They point us to another reality: the reality of human sin. They tell us something is radically wrong with the world and that "something" was caused by our rebellion against God. When God created the world, it was perfect, and God pronounced it "very good" (Gen. 1:31). But then our first parents rebelled against God, and we've been living with the terrible consequences ever since.

But this isn't the whole picture! How do I know God loves us? I know it because Jesus Christ demonstrated God's love by coming down from heaven to defeat sin. By His death and resurrection, Christ defeated Satan and someday the final battle will be won and sin will be destroyed forever. The Bible says, "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work" (1 John 3:8).

Do you want to know if God loves us and if He loves you? Look at Christ. He loves you so much that He was willing to give His life for your salvation. Yes, we live in a tragic, sin-scarred world. But Christ came to make all things new and this can begin in your life today.

Q. Is God really in control?

A. Evil is real, and this world is often attacked by spiritual forces that are not from God but from Satan. Their authority is limited and temporary, but it is nevertheless real, and we see it on every hand. 

You aren't alone in being puzzled about this question; theologians and Bible scholars have discussed it for centuries without coming up with a final answer. Remember: God is far greater than we are, and we'll never fully understand some things about Him until we get to heaven. The apostle Paul said, "Now I know in part; then I shall know fully" (1 Cor. 13:12).

The Bible tells us two important truths, however, that I urge you to keep in mind. First, it tells us that God is all-powerful. From the farthest galaxy to the smallest subatomic particle, God created absolutely everything in the universe—including you and me. He also created the laws by which the universe is governed, and the Lord Jesus Christ continues to watch over it from heaven. The Bible says that "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Col. 1:17).

But the Bible also tells us another important truth: Evil is real, and this world is often attacked by spiritual forces that are not from God but from Satan. Their authority is limited and temporary, but it is nevertheless real, and we see it on every hand.

Can we completely understand these two truths? Some day we will, but not yet. In the meantime, however, we can trust God's goodness and put our lives into His hands, no matter what is happening around us. God loves us, and we know this is true because Jesus Christ died and rose again for our salvation. Is your faith and hope in Him?

Q. Why is there so much violence in the world? 

A. If a vote were taken across the world today, almost everyone would say they want peace—yet everywhere we look we see hatred and conflict and war. Our times are almost like those of Isaiah's day: "The envoys of peace weep bitterly."

 

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