Have you ever wondered why God chooses to do what He does? Do you find yourself asking yourself questions about the purposes of God? I certain everyone here has at one time or another. Christians are not the only people that have questions about God. For instance, some unbelievers ask questions like: Why would God punish someone eternally in hell for something they did temporarily on earth? Why would God allow my child to die such a cruel death? Why does God allow evil? These represent a fraction of the questions that flood them minds of believers and unbelievers alike. These are sometimes hard questions to be answered, especially within the context of personal experiences.
Tonight, I would like to speak to you about, “Answering the Hard Question.” So, what is the hard question? Well, it is different for each of us. Imbedded in our minds are questions that are unique to our varying circumstances. We do not discuss these questions openly, but they linger. As mentioned previously, they are hard to be understood. Moreover, they often haunt us in our weakest moments. They cast doubt on our faith in Christ. For others, these questions prevent them from placing their faith in Christ.
I am confident that while we do not always know the “why” behind every purpose of God, we can assuredly trust the character of God. The Bible teaches us about the nature of God – Theology. The reason why we cannot answer the “hard questions” in life is that we search for the answers outside the Word of God. If you desire to know God, you must submerge yourself in the Scriptures. We cannot follow the philosophy of this world and neglect the theology of the Word. The Bible imparts truth about the essence of God that is essential to understanding the hard questions in life.
HE IS SOVEREIGN
The sovereignty of God is essential to grasp. Perhaps, this point alone could anchor the message tonight. However, it is merely one of the numerous attributes of God. What do I mean by “the sovereignty of God?” Simply put, I mean that God is Almighty; He is overall and in control of all (Rev. 1:8; 4:1-11).
“… We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned” (Rev. 11:17).
“…Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Rev. 15:3).
“…Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments” (Rev. 16:7).
The almightiness of God speaks to His omnipotence as a universal and absolute ruler. To trust in God means to submit to His perfect authority.
“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him” (2 Sam. 22:31).
“It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect” (Ps. 18:32).
The problem is, we ask the wrong questions. We ask: “God, why would you _____________?” When in fact, our question really questions the perfect ways of the Lord God Almighty. God does not choose our ways, but He desires to make them perfect, because His ways are perfect!
God allows many things to occur that He does not choose, but how you choose to respond and reflect on those things is crucial to understanding the plan and purpose of God for your life. The Sovereign is strengthening you! He is directing you! He is making you (Rom. 8:28-31). God has not predestined the evil that overcomes the world, but He has predestinated the way in which He will overcome the world through His good. Are you questioning the Sovereign or yielding to His perfect ways?
HE IS JUST
This characteristic of God is compatible with His sovereignty. Holding the title as a sovereign does not automatically assume righteous judgment or justice. The Lord God Almighty is just. Allow that statement to sink in: He is just!
“Yes, but how could God ______________!” – He is just!
“My child ________________” – He is just!
“My husband ______________” – He is just!
“That criminal _____________” – He is just!
I hope you get the point: He is just!
“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deut. 32:4).
“Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face” (Ps. 89:14).
Whatever the circumstance, God will maintain righteous judgment and dispense justice (Rom. 12:19). Do your questions concern the justice of God? Are you seeking retribution or reward for the actions of others? Are you concerned whether the Sovereign sees? Whether He will enact proper judgement and justice?
HE IS MERCIFUL
The mercy of God describes His compassion towards us; towards all mankind. This allows God to be just in His judgment. One hard question that often arises includes, “If God is all-powerful, why doesn’t He get rid of all the evil in the world?” The person who asks this question does not thoroughly understand the gravity of such a question. That is not a command you would want God to grant. Without mercy, God would condemn all of us for our evil deeds. The earth would be “…without form, and void… and the Spirit of God [would move] upon the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2).
“But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth” (Ps. 86:15).
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy” (Ps. 103:8).
“He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion” (Ps. 111:4).
When Jonah fled from the Lord, he reasoned within himself: “Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, H7349 slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil” (Jonah 4:2).
The mercy of God delays His judgment. The reason why the trumpet has not sounded is because of His mercy! The reason why you get to live today, is because of His mercy! None of us deserve His mercy, but we receive it in abundance daily. Amen.
HE IS GRACIOUS
Mercy and grace are similar. However, grace takes mercy to the next level. God does not show mercy for merely His own favor, but for your favor as well. Graciousness means that God considers the big picture. We do not. When we go through trials, we naturally consider ourselves. We do not attempt to recognize how our trial may lead to the triumph of another; how your burden may be the blessing to someone else. We question the grace of God. We question His favor and kindness to all humanity. People repeatedly mistake the kindness of God with cruelty of man. Children do not starve in developing countries because the Lord neglects them, but because their nation neglected the Lord.
According to His grace, God has shown favor in numerous ways, even in the face of disobedience. Solomon was the son of Bathsheba. King David should have never known Bathsheba in the capacity that he did. He committed adultery with her, had her husband killed, and attempted to cover it up. The murmuring over such disgusting sin must have permeated the house of Israel. The questions of God’s anointed must have been unending. However, the grace of God interrupted the scene (1 Kings 2:12; 4:29, 34).
By his own standard, Saul of Tarsus should have never been extended the grace of God. But, the Lord Jesus Christ stopped him on his way to Damascus. Saul journeyed to Damascus to arrest Christians; to persecute them and even have them killed. He was the archenemy of the cross. However, after his conversion, Saul (who is Paul) declared:
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
God is for you! He sheds His favor and loving-kindness upon you. His grace works through you, in you, and for you! His grace is given freely.
HE IS LOVE
If you do not get anything else tonight, get this: God loves you. This has become the cliché of Christianity. But, it is because some Christians do an awful job demonstrating it. To be honest, I feel we are all guilty of withholding the love of God. Occasionally rather than being unkind, we simply do not love. We neglect to show it.
God does everything in love. In other words, nothing God does is flippant or careless. He accomplishes His plan and purpose through love. This attribute is the overarching essence of God. The apostle John reveals to us:
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 Jn. 4:16).
As a parent, I want my girls to know that I love them. If they want to quit; I love them! When they do quit; I love them! If all else fails; I love them. How you view the love of God will impact how you ask questions of God. Furthermore, it will reveal how you love others.
What is the “hard question” that plagues your mind? Remember, while we do not always know the “why” behind every purpose of God, we can assuredly trust the character of God. He is sovereign, just, merciful, gracious, and love. These five pillars hardly scratch the surface of His essence. However, they give us tremendous insight into how God functions as a ruler and maintains a relationship with His creation.
 1 Tim. 1:12-16.