This year's Holy Week was marred tragically by the actions of Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot who deliberately flew an Airbus jet into an Alpine mountainside, forcing 149 others to join him in his suicide. This cannot help but raise again philosophical questions about why a good God allows such evil actions to happen.
There has always been evil and misfortune afoot in our fallen world. Even during the time when God's Son, one of the Persons of the Trinity, was incarnated and lived among us, evil things and tribulation were allowed to happen. In fact, the political tumult of the region during the decades preceding his birth was continuous and considerable, (see: Wikipedia article). The Christ Child was only about three years old when King Herod committed the massacre of the innocents. Later on, the adult Jesus spoke in his teaching of mishaps and misdeeds which probably had happened recently - so even when He was going about healing thousands of people, releasing them from their demons, and (sometimes) miraculously feeding them, things had been happening which people found wrong or tragic.. Pilate had mingled the blood of a group of Jews with their sacrifices. A tower in Siloam had fallen and killed a large number of people. When Christ's trial took place and the people demanded that Pilate release Barabbas, well, why was Barabbas in prison? He had been leading thugs in violence and murder. Jesus was not suppressing these things from happening and neither was the Father.
"How can a thinking person not question the goodness of God?" Many people ask that when such things happen. These things try our faith but are not meant to ruin it. Perhaps the question should be, how can a sinful person demand absolute arresting and cessation of all misfortune and evil before he will recognize what God is doing right. "Well, God is supposed to be perfect." So, are we the best judges of what proves moral perfection? It's interesting that we would claim perfect understanding of how a good God should act, when, as a whole, our understanding does not bring about divine goodness from us.
God's way is to do great acts of good in a world which our sin has corrupted and twisted, and this sin corruption continues to manifest itself even while God is at work. He does restrain some of it but never all of it, because too many of us are still in rebellion against Him and making the world peaceful, perfect, and tranquil would be to remove a chief consequence of our sin. God's redemptive work takes place amid the crying need for redemption. God's light shines in darkness but a great deal of darkness remains. After all, the brilliance of the angelic throng in the fields of Bethlehem telling Good News to the shepherds did not mean that night turned to day permanently all over Judea. When they had delivered their Good News and departed, the darkness returned.
After the Resurrection, the early church still had to live with the persecution of Paul, for a time, and with things like King Herod Antipas throwing apostles in jail and intending to execute them. He succeeded with James, but the angel released Peter. Did the Church pray for James less than they prayed for Peter? The Word of God does not say. God allowed Paul to throw Christian men and women in prison - but when he expanded his efforts to Damascus, God called a halt. Later, when Paul himself was nearly murdered by mob violence in Jerusalem, the Roman centurion who rescued him thought he was an Egyptian who had led men in rebellion. So that was still going on, too.
Isn't this why Jesus told us that we are the light of the world? Isn't our faith, our trust in Him, meant to call people's attention to what good Jesus Christ is still doing among them, even as the world's sinful darkness rages on? "It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness," and God is still lighting great numbers of candles all over the place. Even when our flame goes out or wavers, He graciously relights it, often from that of a Christian next to us. We're not meant to live in isolation but in fellowship. To bear with our fellow believers, forgive them, "believe the best" as First Corinthians 13 says love ("charity" in the KJV) does. We do indeed need to make sure that our individual light shines, that people see Christ, the Light of the World, through us.
We were never, however, intended to be a chaotic, random scattering of candles. Don't just be a candle for Christ. Be in a chandelier.
(See "About Me")