Tuesday, March 3, 2015


If God really loves His children, why does He allow bad things to happen to them?

A true and loving God would not keep me from my family and my sweetheart simply because I didn’t have some “blessing” performed to guarantee we are “sealed.”

Why can’t you just love me for who I am and let me be happy?

As a teacher in the gospel, these are questions I hear quite often from students, parents and others.  My heart hurts for those who are sincere and simply lack the foundation to understand the truths that the scriptures teach.  I sympathize with some who, because of fear or misunderstanding, struggle to know God and His purposes.  But others, I believe, use questions like these to justify sinful behavior or ignore what they already know is true. 

Generally these types of questions are raised by individuals who do not understand the definitions of Law and Love in the context of what God is doing for His children on earth.  He has specific requirements or commandments – part of the testing He proposed in the pre-mortal life –  for His children and if we fail to heed His counsel we will find ourselves on the outside, looking in.

I quote from a message delivered by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in the October General Conference of 2009.  Addressing scenarios similar to the ones I have listed, he stated:

These persons disbelieve eternal laws which they consider contrary to their concept of the effect of God’s love. Persons who take this position do not understand the nature of God’s love or the purpose of His laws and commandments. The love of God does not supersede His laws and His commandments, and the effect of God’s laws and commandments does not diminish the purpose and effect of His love. The same should be true of parental love and rules.

When we begin to wonder about God and His love for us, maybe it is time to think about our “concept of the effect of God’s love.”  It is possible that we have misinterpreted what God has offered and what we are expecting Him to provide.

It is also telling to me that he includes the last line in his message.  There are so many instances when I see parents who are afraid or reluctant to enforce “law” with their children because they don’t want to offend.  The thought that a child should have ‘carte blanche’ in their life seems rather lame.  I have heard the following numerous times and it always causes me to wonder about the parents involved:

“Well, he/she has their agency and I have to let them do what they want.”

There is so much wrong with this attitude.  And I believe it is not so much recognition of a child’s agency as it is a parent abdicating their duties to raise-up a child in righteousness.  It IS hard to toe-the-line when it comes to raising children.  Often it IS easier to let them decide what they can do.  But when parents make the decision to become parents (whether with forethought or by accident) they fall under another of the Laws of God that requires much.  He said:

And again, inasmuch as parents have children…that teach them not to understand the doctrine… the sin be upon the heads of the parents. (D&C 68:25)

The love of a parent should not be founded on popularity. 

The Love of God is NOT!!

The only method of receiving continuing blessings from Heavenly Father (the fruits of His love) is to obey the commandments He has given.  When we love our fellowmen, God promises blessings.  When we keep the laws of morality, there are blessings that are poured out upon the obedient ones.

On the other hand, if an individual refuses to be obedient to the laws of God, they cannot expect to receive the blessings of God.

No matter how much they may beg or plead.

In that regard, God’s Love is VERY conditional.

With these ideas in mind, I would like to explore one of the questions offered in the opening of this message. 

If God really loves His children, why does He allow bad things to happen to them?

There is much in mortality that is evil and unpleasant.  Some people use their agency to rob or steal and others exercise the right to choose in more vicious ways.  As law-abiding individuals, most of us are not inclined to do evil to others.  Yet, we have to suffer the consequences of those who do.  It’s not right, is  often the cry from the offended.

And they are correct.

Could Heavenly Father stop those who perpetrate wickedness against the innocent?  If so, why doesn’t He exercise His power and save them?

The answer is YES, God has the power to stop those with evil intent from effecting their designs.  In fact, He could make it so anyone who did wrong or broke the laws of man or God would suffer the immediate consequences of their actions.

So why doesn’t He stop them and protect the innocent?

There is one good reason for His allowance.  It is to protect the gift of agency.  God is very careful with this gift and will never do anything to violate the right of His children to choose.  All must be allowed to choose for themselves how they will live.

As soon as our Father in Heaven begins limiting what one person can and cannot do do, the Laws of Agency become void.  Then Satan will have won the battle.  After all, wasn’t that his plan from the beginning?

 When God called His children to council and asked for volunteers to redeem the world from sin, it was Satan who volunteered second (after the Savior) but wanted to change things so agency was lost.  His exact statement was:

“Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.” (Moses 4:1)

Notice what is lost if Satan has his way?  Not one soul shall be lost because not one soul will have a choice.  In opposition to the power of agency, the Devil proposed that all of God’s children be forced to keep the commandments and eliminate the need for agency or redemption. 

Now, that would be a lovely arrangement to enter wouldn’t it?!!

And what was the result of Lucifer’s effort to change the Plan of Salvation?

Exercising his own agency to rebel resulted in God casting Lucifer out of His presence.  One third of God’s children (those who CHOSE to follow the devil) were also required to leave the presence of God and live elsewhere.  Even in the Celestial worlds of God, agency is sacrosanct and will not be violated.  As much as it hurts, agency must be protected for each individual, no matter how they exercise that gift.

In those pre-mortal realms, it would surely have been much simpler for our Heavenly Father to require all His children to obey the Plan He proposed. The loss of 1/3 of his children must have hurt.  Many of us might have bent or tried to find some way to compromise.

He did not. 

Just as God would not force Lucifer to stop his evil plan, He will not stop those in this life who choose to do things that are against His desires – even if it hurts or destroys innocent people.  His view is much broader than what we can see and His love will make up for the deficiencies of all who suffer as a result of the bad choices of others.

What our Father will do is entice, invite, encourage, etc. every individual in this life to come back to Him and receive all that He has to offer.  That is the finest reason I can imagine for trying to do the best we can. 

And since our best isn’t nearly enough, we desperately need His Son to step in and make up for the empty spots (unfathomable numbers of them) where we cannot be fixed on our own.  That powerful, loving Friend of ours has promised that He will heal all the deficiencies this life has poured upon us. (see Alma 7:11-13)

But like all the parts of God’s Plan, there are specific requirements to receive the full benefit of His gifts. 
And so many more. 

He will not quibble with us and no amount of pleading can change His decisions once we have stated we are finished with our efforts. 

His love cannot Supersede His Laws and His Commandments.

He will always love us.  Only our lack of love can prevent Him blessing us.


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