SO MANY PROBLEMS?
“Well, uh, I’d like ask the first
one,” said a student hesitantly. “Why do we have so many problems down
here on earth? Why does all this happen to us? There seems no end to it.”
“Because we sinned,” replied
Larry, “It’s not the Lord’s fault. We did it to ourselves. Man fell
into sin in the Garden of Eden; and, ever since then, we’ve continued sinning.
So Christ came to earth to save us. If we’ll cooperate, He is going to take us
to heaven. That’s why He lived and suffered and died. He did it for us. He
became a ‘Man of Sorrows,’ so we might have everlasting joy in a better
Another student asked, “Yes, but if
all this is happening down here, does God really love us?”
“Another good question,” said
Larry, “Jesus did not die on Calvary to get the Father to love us. That great
sacrifice was not made in order to create in God’s heart a love for man. Oh,
no! The Bible says, ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only
begotten Son’ [John 3:16]. The Father gave Jesus to us because He
loves us. Only the Son of God could accomplish our redemption. And all
members of the Godhead—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—worked on it
“That makes us pretty valuable,
doesn’t it?” said a boy.
“Yes, what a value this places
upon man!” said Larry, “Through transgression we became the subjects of
Satan. Through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ we can become the sons
and daughters of God!”
“But there is so much suffering
down here,” said a girl, “it seems
like, if God really loves us, we shouldn’t have all these problems.”
one of our problems,” replied Larry, “is the result of our own sins and
mistakes or the sins and mistakes of others. Every one of them. Never
forget that. The Bible is clear about this. God is not the cause of our
problems. He is not the cause of any of our problems.
“Here are a few examples from the
beginning of the Bible: Adam and Eve fell into sin by their own act. Abel died
because of his brother’s angry temper. The Flood came on the world because of
its wickedness. Sodom was destroyed because of the sins of its inhabitants.
Korah and his associates rebelled against God’s authority, so the earth opened
up and swallowed them. Lots of other examples could be mentioned.
“Whatever difficulties there are,
the cause can always be traced to a problem with people, not with God. The cause
may be traced to an accident, a bad diet, a genetic flaw, meanness, crime, or
something else. But the cause is always people, not God.
“If you always remember that, you
will be less likely to question the goodness of God, less likely to leave
At this, a boy rose to his feet.
though God does not directly do all those bad things, why does He not stop them
“It’s like this,” Larry
explained, “sin entered the universe through Lucifer. Why? Because Lucifer
made a devil out of himself. God didn’t make him bad; he made himself bad.
When that happened, something had to be done about the situation.
“Now, God had infinite power. If He
did anything to put a stop to it, no one in the universe would understand what
had happened. Satan had made lying charges; and if God liquidated him in a
moment, this would leave a question in everyone’s mind.
“So, in his infinite wisdom, God
gave Satan time to show what would result from his method of government. The
devil had declared that God was selfish and His law unjust. Therefore God
permitted time to elapse so everyone could see Satan exposed for the liar and
murder that he was.
“The devil said his ideas would
wonderfully improve life. So God gave him time to demonstrate what happens when
created beings rebel against God.
“And what is it that happens when
any of us rebel against God and refuse to obey Him? We become more like Satan.
There are no exceptions. On our own, we always get into trouble, hurt ourselves
and everyone else.”
“But why do we have to suffer
because the devil has to be exposed?” said
“We are part of this terrible
experiment in rebellion because we were born into this world,” answered Larry.
Someone may say, ‘Well, that’s not fair. We had no say about being born, so
why do we have to go through all this suffering because we are in a world filled
with devils tempting men?’ There’s a beautiful answer to that:
“As soon as Satan won a large number
of angels in heaven and they were cast out, he successfully overcame Adam and
Eve. That victory gave Satan the
opportunity to tempt and harass all of Adam’s descendants. Any history book
will tell you the result: murder, intrigue, and wars. Plus famine and disease
which Satan helped produce. That’s what the devil gave us.
“Yes, it’s true that we are all
born into this miserable world, without any choice in the matter.
“But—and this is the important
part—God makes up for it in a most wonderful way! He says, ‘Child, if
you will prove faithful to Me and, amid the hardships of this life, patiently
remain loyal to Me,—I will reward you with eternal life!’
“What a reward is that! In
exchange for accepting Christ as our Saviour and faithfully submitting to His
rule throughout these few brief decades on earth,—we will be able to live with
Him through eternal ages in heaven!”
“I see what you mean,”
that same student.
“Think about it a minute,” said
Larry. “There is simply no loss in such an arrangement. For a few
decades of problems and suffering down here, we will be with Christ in heaven
forever and ever!”
“Well, that’s okay for those who
accept Christ,” another
student asked, “but what about all those people down here who don’t?
They have to suffer and die down here,—and still miss out on heaven!”
“But remember,” said Larry, “no
one need be lost. God’s Holy Spirit and the good angels work with everyone
who has ever lived on earth, seeking to draw them to God.
“It is only by our own decision
that any of us will be lost. Here’s a couple Bible verses about this:
“Titus 2:11 says this: ‘For
the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.’
“1 Timothy 2:4 puts it this
way: ‘Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the
“So there you have it. God’s plan
is to save everyone willing to be saved. And all those willing to cooperate with
God and let Him work out His plans for their life will be saved.”
“Now, you sort of covered it,” said a
girl, “but I’d like to ask this: Why doesn’t God protect His own
loyal children from the problems of life? Why do they also have accidents? Why
do they have genetic problems? Why are they robbed and killed? I guess I mean to
say it this way: Why doesn’t God especially favor and care for His own?”
“Stop and think a minute,” said
Larry. “Any time anyone in the world appears to have an ability a little
beyond that of the normal,—everyone wants what he has. They crave his power,
his authority, his money, his influence. The same would hold true for special
“If it became obvious that
Christians had a teflon coating; that is, that they were given very obvious,
special protection from making mistakes or having problems—all the worldlings,
without having true repentance or forsaking their sins, would declare themselves
followers of God!
“But they would only be doing it for
what they could get out of God—right now. Instead, God’s faithful ones
love Him, in spite of the problems of life.
“God does care for His own, but He
does it in ways that are generally unnoticed by the world. So the wicked,
looking at the unselfish lives of true Christians, decide they will only lose,
not gain, if they accept Christ as their Saviour.
“Have you noticed that it always
seems to require a sacrifice to become a real Christian? Satan is always
standing there, tempting people to think they will lose a lot if they accept
“Yet, in reality, people lose
nothing worth keeping when they accept Christ.”
"But why are Christians always
suffering and persecuted?”
A boy asked. “It’s
happened for thousands of years.”
“Everyone not under God’s control
is guided by the devil. We individually choose one or the other of the two great
powers to rule over us.
“Satan constantly urges the wicked
to give God’s people as much trouble as possible. The devil is hoping to
discourage them and break their hold on God.
“As a result, down through history,
we find that God’s people were maligned, ridiculed, persecuted, hunted, and
slain. Satan works through the wicked to make their lives as hard as possible.
“Yet, in spite of it all, God’s
faithful ones choose to remain loyal to God because of principle—and for no
other reason. They don’t do it to gain fame, wealth, or honor in this
“They do it just because they love
God and want to do what His Word tells them to do. They don’t do it because
they are expecting Him to load them with benefits in this life. They serve
God, not for what they can get out of Him, but because they love Him. They
do it in spite of the treatment they receive from the ungodly. They are loyal to
God regardless of any outward rewards they might receive in this life.
“Abraham is an example of this. God
promised him great things, but he wasn’t going to get them until he could go
to heaven. Hebrews 11:9-11 says this: ‘By faith he [Abraham] sojourned
in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with
Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked for a
city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.’
“Only in standing true to God, in
spite of having to share in the problems down here on earth, could the genuinely
faithful be tested—and show they really were on God’s side and not on
the side of the rebels.
“Let’s put it this way: Isn’t it
a fact that everyone would serve God if He would immediately give them
everything they asked for and provide all their immediate gratifications?”
“Yes, you’re right,”
said that student.
“Well, I think we’ve gone long enough
tonight. Are these the kind of meetings you want?” asked Larry.
“Yes,” said the students.
“Okay then, next week, same time,
same station,” replied Larry. “By the way, if there’s anyone here who does
not have a Bible, you would do well to order one at the bookstore. You need to
have a good, readable Bible you can read in every day.”
CAN I COME TO CHRIST?
During that week, both in the
cafeteria and dorms, the students talked together about the new class. It was
generally agreed that they were getting more of out of this class, that could
help them in the future, than a lot of classes they could take.
It was because the meetings were
interesting, because they were practical and met the needs of the students. For
the first time, many questions were being answered.
As the students arrived for the next
week’s meeting, they found that, once again, the entire faculty and staff were
taking seats in back. But the students didn’t mind, because it was their
meeting, not the faculty’s.
“Well, I’ve been talking to the
acting president, Miss Stevenson,” Larry told the audience; “and she told me
I could change the name of the course to anything I wanted. So I thought about
that a little and selected “Principles of Life” as the course title.
But I want your approval, for this will be the course name recorded on your
transcripts at the end of the year.”
A student raised his hand. “That
means there will be no record that we ever had any classes in witchcraft?”
“None at all,” said Larry.
Everyone was happy about that, and the
vote was unanimous.
“Okay, it’s time we start our class,”
said Larry; “and, you know what? We forgot to start and end with prayer last
week. I really apologize for that.” Larry looked embarrassed. “I guess we
all got excited about something new that we were beginning. Is this all right
with you if we have prayer at our meetings?”
Every hand went up.
“Okay, who would like to give the
A student raised his hand and then
“What’s the first question
today?” asked Larry.
“According to what you told us last
week,” said a girl, “God loves us as much as Jesus does! That sounds
almost too good to be true. I got the idea from somewhere that God was vengeful
and anxious to see us suffer.”
“Oh, no,” said Larry. “He is
kind and loving. ‘God is love’ is what the Bible says about Him. Listen to
“I John 4:7-8: ‘Love is of
God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth
not knoweth not God, for God is love.’
“Think of it a minute: Think of the
matchless love of God for a world that did not love Him! Think of all that
God does for us every day, even though we are so unthankful. He keeps our
hearts beating and provides our food. He sent His Son to die on the cross to
save us. Yet we killed Him. And He still loves us!
“The thought of God’s love humbles
our hearts as we think about it. It causes us to want to love Him all the more.
All heaven was poured out in the gift of Christ to us! Throughout the eternal
ages we will praise Him for His inexpressible gift—eternal salvation through
Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.”
“I’m so thankful to hear that!” said
a student near the front. “Listen, can you explain this: Why can’t we
just save ourselves? Why do we need Jesus to save us?”
“Back in the Garden of Eden,”
explained Larry, “before Adam fell into sin, man originally had great strength
and a well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being and in harmony with God.
His thoughts were pure, his aims holy. But through disobedience, all that was
damaged. Selfishness took the place of love. The nature of man became so
weakened through transgression, that it was impossible for him, in his own
strength, to resist the power of evil.
“And that’s where we are today. It
is now impossible for us, by ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which
we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. There is only
one solution: There must be a power outside of ourselves, a new life from above,
before we can be changed from sin to holiness.
“Now that power is Christ! Only by
His grace can we be attracted to desire clean, pure lives. Only He can draw us
to God in repentance for our sins.
“The Bible says, ‘Behold the Lamb
of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ [John 1:29]. We have
the power to choose to return to God. We have to come to Christ for that
salvation. For it is only through Christ that we can be brought into harmony
At this another hand went up. “But
how are we to come to Christ?”
“The first step is repentance,”
Larry said. “Repentance includes sorrow for sin and a turning away from it.
But we are not going to renounce sin until we see its sinfulness. And that
is not likely to happen until we realize the sufferings Christ went through to
save us. But until we turn away from sin in heart, there can be no real change
in the life.
“As we behold what Jesus suffered
for us, something special happens and our hearts are yielded to the
influence of the Spirit of God. Our consciences are quickened. It is then
that we recognize that we are sinners and how sacred is God’s holy law
that we have broken. We realize that God’s moral code is the foundation of
God’s government in heaven and on earth. The law of God convicts us of sin.
The law becomes a mirror [James 1:23-25], leading us to Christ who alone
can save us. The law itself cannot save us. It can only tell us we are
“How can I know if I’m
really sorry for my sins, so I can come to God?”
questioned a girl. “It’s so easy to pray and not seem to get through
“The prayer of David, after his
fall, helps explain this [Psalm 51:1-17],” replied Larry. “David had
true sorrow for sin. His repentance was sincere and deep. There was no effort
to cover over his guilt. David saw how greatly he had sinned against God. He
was terribly ashamed of his sin. He wasn’t just praying for pardon, but for
purity of heart. He longed for the joy of holiness. He wanted to be restored
to harmony and oneness with God. This is the kind of repentance we need. But
we can only have this experience with the help of Christ.”
“Sometimes everything seems
hopeless,” said a student. “I try
and just keep falling.”
“Christ is ready to set each of us,
without exception, free from sin; but He will never force the will,” said
“As you see how terrible sin is, as
you see yourself as you really are, do not give up in despair. It was sinners
that Christ came to save. Remember that! When Satan comes to tell you that
you are a great sinner, look to your Redeemer and talk of His merits.
Acknowledge your sin, but tell the enemy that ‘Christ came into the world to
save sinners’ [1 Timothy 1:15] and He wants to save me!”
“I like that!” said another student.
how do I confess my sins?”
“That’s a good question,” Larry
said. “This is what the Bible says. ‘He that covereth his sins shall not
prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy’ ]Proverbs
28:13]. The conditions for obtaining the mercy of God are simple. They’re
“In sincerity of heart, you confess
your sins to God. You know that He alone can forgive them, and it is true.
“But those who have not humbled
their souls before God, in acknowledging their guilt, have not yet fulfilled the
first step of acceptance. We must be willing to humble our hearts and comply
with the conditions given in the Bible.
“Remember that earnest confession
that is the outpouring of the inmost soul finds its way to God. He has infinite
pity on the helpless sinner. He knows all your problems and temptations.
“True confession is always of a
specific character and acknowledges particular sins. All confession should
be definite and to the point. The Bible says, ‘If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’
[1 John 1:9].”
“So what is needed is a
sincere, full repentance; is that right?”
the same student.
“That’s right,” Larry said.
“God’s promise is, ‘Ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search
for Me with all your heart’ [Jeremiah 29:13]. The whole heart must be
yielded, or the change can never be wrought in us by which we are to be restored
to His likeness.
“We’re in a war and we’re the
center of it. The deciding point is our choice: What will we choose to
do? Whose side will we choose to be on? If we choose God’s side, good angels
will instantly help strengthen our decision. But if we choose to waver, then
evil angels will lead us into one of the devil’s traps.
“The warfare against self is the
greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to
the will of God, requires a struggle. But if we will submit our will to
God’s will, we will be safe. Good angels will help us.
“Well,” we should close this meeting.
Who would like to pray for us tonight?”
“I will,” said a girl near the
GO TO CHAPTER 34