Why Would A Good God Allow The Persecution
of Those Who Have
One might raise this as an objection similar to that of evil. The objection is based upon the reality of the persecution of Christians around the world. Why would God allow the persecution of individuals who have chosen to accept his payment for their sin and follow him? Wouldn't he reward them?
When initially considered, the objection sounds reasonable. After all, if these Christians have already dedicated themselves to God, wouldn’t God protect them if He really existed? It would seem that the possibility of being persecuted would cause those who haven’t become Christians to be more resistant to the idea of becoming a Christian.
What is interesting though is that when you look at the growth of Christianity around the world, you find that Christianity typically has grown faster in areas where its persecution is greater. Looking at the western countries where we have the highest standard of living and persecution of Christians consist of little more than that our beliefs are criticized, we find that the growth of Christianity is typically much lower than other areas of the world. It seems to our human reasoning that the reality would be that Christianity would grow fastest where it experiences the least amount of persecution, but it isn’t.
Think about your own life. Are you more motivated to make a change when things are going well or when they aren't going well? I believe it is natural that when things are going well for us, we have a tendency not to want those things to change. However, when we experience difficulties and pain, we usually are prompted to think about God, or think more about Him, even if it is only to wonder why we are experiencing the pain we experience. We are looking for a resolution to what we are going through, and we know deep down that the only resolution possible would need to come from God.
Do you find that you think more about God when things are going well or when you are experiencing difficulties? Comfort in life is a strong distraction from thoughts toward God, aren't they? Having this understanding of our own human nature doesn't necessarily mean that we will understand the reason for every difficulty and pain we have or will experience, and maybe not even understand the reason for some of these experiences in our entire life.
The one thing we will never fully have in this life is the perspective to understand some and possibly many of these things that happen. God knows everything and knows the future, so he has a perspective that we can't possibly have.
An example of this is a tragedy that happened October of 2016. One of the Sergeants of our Sheriff Department, Officer Steve Owen, was responding to a robbery call. He was ultimately shot by the suspect, and it is reported that the suspect then stood over him and shot him another 4 times, effectively he executed Officer Owen.
With Hearts Heavy, Brutal Details Of Sergeant's Killing, Hostage Taking Emerge
It is my understanding that Officer Steve Owen was within a year of retiring and spending the rest of his life with his wife and family, but was tragically taken by a senseless shooting. I can't imagine the pain his family endured.
What started to emerge about Steve Owen and his life was his character and the impact he had with his family and also the amazing impact he had during his career, not only with other officers, but with the community as well.
Slain Sheriff’s Sergeant Honored In Funeral Procession, Memorial Service
Within a few weeks after the tragedy, our family ran into another family we hadn't seen in a few years, as they had moved out of the area. The husband is also a Sheriff's Officer within a few years of retirement. They had gone to the memorial service and mentioned that just at the service there were at least 5 persons who gave their lives to Christ! Here is the full funeral service:
Funeral service for Sgt. Steve Owen Hosted by Pastor Paul Chappell and Lancaster Baptist Church
This event was certainly a tragedy, particularly for the Owen family and his department and all of law enforcement. But through it God was able to make a change in a number of other's lives, starting with the ones at the memorial service.
God did not cause the man who shot Officer Owen to shoot him. That man always had a choice. And while that is true, God used the results of that man's choice to touch lives who may not have been touched otherwise.
We must realize that God is far more interested in our eternal destination - Heaven, than our temporary destination – here. If by God allowing persecution of Christians, and tragedies that seem horrific, that larger numbers of people will choose His gift of eternal life, it is then understandable and logical that God would allow persecution and tragedy, even if it doesn't take away the pain experienced by loved ones. It does seem to be the opposite of what makes sense to us, but the reality is that God’s knowledge, reasoning, and perspective are complete and lacking in nothing, while our knowledge and reasoning are usually very limited. The question becomes,
"Will we trust God, who has proved Himself, during those times we can make no sense of a situation?"
Growth of Christianity is 'excessive', says Chinese official
Christian Growth and Persecution in China
Growth of Christianity in Iran 'Explosive,' According to Open Doors
The growth of Christianity in Iran
Despite severe persecution, a Historic Christian Revival is taking place in Iran!
Persecution in the Early Church
Christianity is the fastest growing religion.
Does the Bible show instances of believers being persecuted?
Philippians 1:12-14 “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”
Here are a few other sites on Persecution:
Persecution in the Early Church
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