Where is God in all of this?
We live in a world tortured by suffering — innocent people in the Middle East being killed by bombs and rockets that fly by night and day, women in Darfur raped by marauding Janjaweed militias, children in Uganda kidnapped and pressed into military service by the Lord's Resistance Army and rich people in the West wracked with lung cancer as a result of years of smoking cigarettes. We have all seen the misery etched in the faces of the wounded and grieving, sometimes very close to home.
The God of the Bible, the Father of Jesus Christ, created our jewel of a planet and stocked it with every conceivable source of delight and blessing, but you wouldn't know it now. Human beings have done everything they can to wreak havoc and make the lives of their fellows as miserable as possible, it would sometimes seem. Though God continues to providentially care for mankind (Acts 14:17), the wicked continue to contest God's beneficence every step of the way. And God does nothing to stop their depredations.
Believers, who suffer along with their fellows in this wicked world, can easily become discouraged when, in spite of all the best efforts of millions of Christians and other men and women of good will to make a difference, the handbasket to hell gets heavier and heavier.
Look, the world is not going to improve — at least, not much. Not as long as the wicked thrive; so far no progress has been made in dealing with this root cause of all human problems — wickedness. No nation's judicial system really tackles the problem of wickedness, and probably none ever will in this present evil age (Gal. 1:4). Christian missionaries do not have the power to deal with the intransigently evil folk who hate God.
The only answer to having peace of mind in
the midst of all this is to take the biblically-based philosophical view — first, God is ultimately in charge and, second, this life is not where the real action is; for believers earthly life is merely the training ground for eternity while for the wicked it is a time to expose their wickedness. We need patience and faith: patience to bear up under the sorrow of life and faith to trust that God knows what He is doing. And He does: He has a purpose for allowing this world to have gone so far astray since Eden:
O Lord, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this. When the wicked spring up like grass, and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that they may be destroyed forever (Ps. 92:6-8).
Without making any attempt to unravel the glorious mystery of how and when God will deal with the wicked and console the righteous, we note here the awesome truth: God's mysterious government of this world has a glorious purpose which will, in the end, deal with the problem of human sinfulness once and for all, and children of faith will sing and rejoice. We can take heart in Solomon's beautiful assessment:
Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him (Eccl. 8:12).
Let us take heart; the Chief Shepherd carries the righteous through the sand moment by moment and is angry with the wicked every day (Ps. 7:11). All will be well for those who fear God. But let us also stand in awe of God; His plan involves the ultimate transformation and salvation of the wicked (Rom. 14:11). His current governance of the world has that goal in its purview, too. He is God; He knows exactly what He is doing.