Setting: Occupied Holland during World War II
"The Germans are going to take away our dog", sobbed Joris. "She'll have to go to Germany and I'll never see her again!"...
"I don't understand God," Joris went on rebelliously. "Why doesn't He stop the Germans? Why does He let them go on and on, doing awful things to people when He is almighty and could stop them?"
Here was a theological problem. Father Kobus sat down to it, pushing into the pew beside Joris.
"How would you like God to stop them?" he asked.
"He could kill them all," said Joris fiercely. There was a silence. Joris heard his own words echo through the church and they frightened him.
"You mean, you want God to kill all the fathers and mothers, the babies and the little girls and boys, the old grandfathers, the artists and the people who make songs...just because they are Germans?" Father Kobus asked gently. It was Joris' own argument, used against him!
"No, no," he said hastily, "I did not mean that."
"Then what do you expect God to do?"
"Well, He could kill Hitler and all those awful people who started the war," argued Joris.
"And not give them the chance to be sorry, to save their souls?" asked Father Kobus. Joris had not thought of that. ...
"Well?" asked Father Kobus.
"Could He not as least make the Allies win?" Joris asked.
"He will, He will," the priest assured him. "They are winning. But it won't solve anything for long. Wars never do. The evil is inside, and has to be conquered inside. That is where God works. It is in your heart that the Lord will conquer." ...
"Then there is another thing," Father Kobus went on. "If God interfered too much with us, we would not be free. You have a dog. Would you like it if she only followed you when you dragged her by a rope?"
Joris' eyes lit up. "She doesn't," he cried. "She follows me everywhere because she wants to. She looks for me when I'm away. She watches me when I go to school, with her front paws on the windowsill, and once, when I had a cold and couldn't go out, she lay at the foot of my bed all day long!" Joris' triumphant voice rang through the church.
"Hush, child, hush, said Father Kobus, smiling a little. "I can see that your dog loves you. And it is the way God wants us to love Him. He wants us to follow Him out of our own free will."
This exerpt taken from The Winged Watchman by Hilda Von Stockum, spoke so clearly to me I just had to share it with you. Sometimes it is difficult to explain to my children why bad things happen. When I read this I knew I now had the perfect answer to why God lets evil people live. Father Kobus' reply to Joris will now be my stronghold. I won't flounder when my children raise their sad, questioning eyes to me in confusion. I'll be able to answer honestly and precisely, "It's because God cares for their souls. He wants them to be sorry for their sins. He wants them to follow Him, because they love Him. He wants to give everybody the chance to know His abundant love and glory."
"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." I Peter 1:8