permit evil? If he really is a loving, all powerful God.
Why are there homeless children who dig through piles of garbage for scraps to live on, while our children have iPhones and dance lessons and their own bedrooms? Why does baby Liam suffer non-stop seizures, why are babies aborted, why was there Stalin and Hitler and the slaughter of a million Tutsis? Why does God allow the innocent to suffer?
Several years ago, a non-Christian friend was reading the Bible for the first time, and found himself bewildered by a particular passage in Exodus.
Why did God "harden Pharaoh's heart?" (Exodus 10: 27) he asked me.
He had me stumped.
If God wanted the Israelites to be brought by Moses out of Egypt, why would he make Pharaoh obstinate? Isn't this counter-productive on God's part? And besides, isn't God directly willing an evil, by hardening Pharaoh's heart?
I didn't have an answer for my friend.
Today, I am reading Exodus and the answer jumps out at me from the pages themselves. The Lord tells Moses: "Pharaoh refuses to listen to you that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 11: 9). Pharaoh was already hard-hearted, and the Lord allowed this hardness to remain (and perhaps he even prolonged it) so that even more wonders would be revealed.
And the Lord explains further, "Thus will I make Pharaoh so obstinate that he will pursue them. Thus I will receive glory through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord." By allowing Pharaoh to remain obstinate, God will enable even the Egyptians to come to know the one, true God.
As a wise priest once said, God would never allow anything in the past that is not a part of his loving plan for the future.
And why was the man born blind? Jesus gives us the same reason: "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him" (John 9:3-5).
So that the works of God might be revealed, so that God's wonders might be multiplied. Revealed in the healing of the blind man and in the freeing of the slaves. There is no situation so dark or bleak or evil that it cannot be transformed by God's love and mercy.