A little over two years ago my two eldest daughters and I took my ninety-plus-year-old grandmother back to her house in another state. I was driving that day when a truck plowed into the back of my car, crushing my two princesses and my grandmother. I was hospitalized for more than a month of physical therapy. How could this happen, leaving me with such an intolerable level of pain in my soul? Is God just?

Dear Friend,

We are so very sorry to hear about the loss of your daughters and grandmother! We can’t even imagine the depths of the emotional pain that you are suffering. We understand why you say it is intolerable, so we wish that we could say something that would help you to tolerate it better. But unfortunately there are no words that can alleviate your pain. Many people say that only the passage of time can dull the pain a bit, but we don’t know how much time it will take.

You ask if God is just. It certainly doesn’t seem like it to you, just as it doesn’t seem like it to those who are the innocent victims of violence or war. Nor does it seem like it when whole populations are displaced, nor when ethnic groups are tortured and enslaved. Looking at the desperate and hopeless situations all around the world, it just doesn’t make sense that a just God would allow such injustice. So most people, like you, want to know if God really is just.

We would like it if God would just prevent all injuries and untimely death, and stop all violence and war along with all robbery and sexual abuse. We wish He would make sure that people are treated fairly in every corner of the world and that, in order to make this possible, He would bring down evil dictators and terrorists.

So why doesn’t God just clean up the world? He could get rid of corrupt government officials, all criminals, and even all the people who risk the lives of others by driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol.

The truth is that this clean and perfect world is what God originally planned for us. He gave us ten fundamental laws known as the Ten Commandments so that we would know how to attain a world where justice reigns.

However, because God loves us He didn’t want to force us to accept His plan. So He gave all of us the ability to choose whether or not to follow those ten laws. Those who choose to ignore His laws eventually lead their homes, their families, their communities, their countries, and their world into the chaos and injustice that are a result of breaking them.

Tragically scores of people become the innocent victims of those who break God’s laws. They do nothing to deserve what happens to them, and God certainly doesn’t choose for it to happen. But someone’s bad choice leads to another, and another, and another… Your loved ones became the innocent victims of a world that is suffering the consequences of its own choices.

We wish you peace,