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Page 32

To believe in some but not all God's attributes is dangerous. Why? If people believe that God is only "love" or only "justice," how will they both be mistaken in opposite ways?

Are there any "good" or "innocent" people in the world? When some people experience sicknesses, deaths, or disasters, why should we not question God's justice by wondering why these "innocent" people are suffering?

Why is the following statement true: "The fact that some people do not presently experience just punishments upon their sins speaks of God's great mercy and patience"?

Can you describe any biblical examples in which God's actions of love were misinterpreted as acts of His displeasure and judgment? Can you describe some present-day situations which would be examples of this same truth?

Due to our lack of understanding of God and His dealings, we often misread and mistrust His actions. Our sinful hearts naturally underestimate both God's attributes of justice and mercy. We do not properly understand the depth of punishment our sins deserve, nor the depth of gracious love required to save sinners. The following two stories illustrate these truths:

    As Robert left the hospital after visiting his sick and suffering grandfather, he thought to himself, "God is not good. If there was a good God, why does my grandfather, as well as do so many other good people, have to suffer?"

    This thought bothered Robert. The next time he visited his suffering grandfather, he told him his thoughts. "Robert," his grandfather answered, "I am not good. I am a sinner and so are all the other people in this hospital. I would like to give you a different thought to think about. Since all people are guilty sinners before God, why doesn't God cause every person to suffer in hospitals and torment them with far worse sufferings?"

    Why is Grandfather's answer true? Why should we be amazed that some people are healthy, without severe pains; not destroyed in disasters, and still living? Do we deserve any of the blessings which the Lord gives us? What do we deserve instead? Is God good, also to us?

    Years ago, a woman was traveling in a stagecoach in Western Montana on a bitter winter day. She was not properly dressed for the cold, and the driver was worried that she would freeze to death. He went as fast as he dared and kept calling down to her to make sure that fatal drowsiness was not overtaking her.

    When she no longer answered, he stopped, seized the woman, and roughly dragged her over the frozen ground. His violence partially awakened her. He then climbed back onto the stagecoach and drove away, leaving the woman lying by the side of the road.

    Fear gripped the woman. Screaming and yelling, she began to run after the stagecoach. After a few minutes, the driver stopped and let the woman back inside. The healthy recirculation of her blood helped save her life.

    Did the driver's actions look like loving actions? Were they? How can this be true in the lives of God's children? Do God's actions always look like loving actions to them? How can the harshest treatment sometimes be the best for a person?

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