One of the biggest issues that often comes up in conversations about God and Jesus and Christianity is ,‘If there’s a loving God why does he allow so much evil and suffering in the world?’
There are lots of ways we might think about this but one I have found helpful is to reflect on a story Jesus told about weeds and wheat, which can be found in Matthew, (the first book in the New Testament), chapter 13, verses 24-30, and also verses 36-43.
There Jesus tells a story of a farmer who sows seeds of wheat but during the night his enemy comes along and scatters weeds among the wheat in the same field. Many scholars believe the weed planted by the enemy was a plant called darnal. It’s so similar to wheat they can only be differentiated when the ears on the wheat develop. By which time the stronger darnal roots would have wrapped themselves around the much weaker roots of the wheat, making it impossible to uproot without damaging the wheat.
Rather than pulling up the weeds and ruining the more valuable wheat, in the process, the farmer tells his labourers to leave the weeds in the ground until harvest time, when the wheat and weeds will be dug up and separated, without causing the wheat more harm. While the grains of wheat will be stored, the weeds will be burnt and destroyed.
As the labourers wait for the harvest, we as Christians wait for God’s judgement, where the weeds of evil will be separated from the wheat of love, and destroyed. If God uproots evil before judgement, he will inevitably damage all that’s good in the world, causing even more pain and suffering, not less.
The prospect of God’s judgement may sound scary. However if God is love then he’s compelled to judge between good and evil. So where we see God’s judgement, we will also see his perfect justice.
Although we wait patiently, we don’t wait passively. Like the student studying before an exam, the actor rehearsing before a play, or the England football team training hard before the World Cup, (ok bad example!), we as Christians are called to prepare the world for God’s final judgement.
Instead of allowing the weeds of evil to over run the world, we endeavour to over run the weeds of evil by sowing the wheat of love. It includes praying for victims of evil, sharing the good news of God’s love, standing up for justice, caring for the environment, and helping those in need.
I hope this post is helpful. Any further contributions will be welcome. But please send the really difficult questions to Sam and Claire!
About the Author
James is a monk.