By Morentalisa Hutapea, Indonesia
When I was in university, I once had a discussion with my professor on Facebook. He wrote a status saying: “Looking at the bad things happening on earth such as genocide and wars, I would say either God does not exist or He does not have control or He is that cruel.” I disagreed with that and left a comment saying that God does exist and He is good. He then asked me how could I be sure. I replied: “Faith.”
I can definitely understand why he would question God’s presence, sovereignty, and goodness. I have also seen bad things happen in this world. I have a best friend who lost her brother when he was burned alive. I remembered I cried the whole night when I heard that news because I never thought that such a tragedy could happen to someone so close to me. I worked with issues such as human right abuses, civil wars, corruption, and more. I realized that such sadness would bring people to ask, what kind of God allows such cruel things to happen?
Since I was young, I have dealt with loss. I lost my dad when I was a year old. I lost my grandparents when I was a teenager. I lost my friend’s father whom I deemed as my own father when I was in junior high school. I lost my boyfriend when I was at my lowest point in life and recently, I lost the place I called home for the last twenty years because it got burned.
There are surely times when I find it hard to believe that God exists and that He is in control. I often hang out with skeptics and atheists, and sometimes their belief in the non-existence of God can be very tempting for my little brain. I have read some constructivism books which tell me that religion is merely a social construction. But should I believe them?
Somehow, deep down in my heart, I know, I believe, and I am sure that God exists, He is in control, and He is good. How can I be sure? The answer is still the same: Faith.
It is faith that has brought me this far. Of course there are scars, but I found my wounds healed. It is faith that enabled me to see the good things that God creates out of those sad stories. It is faith that made me see the beautiful rainbow, even if the rain has not stopped pouring yet. Although I still find it impossible at times, it is faith that pushed me to obey this command, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).
How can such big faith fit into this tiny girl? I believe it is only by God’s grace and through His Spirit, by the morning and night daily prayers, by the brothers and sisters in Christ I met along the way. All of them enabled me to stand strong through all the circumstances, through all the falls, through all the mistakes and the sins, seeing how faithful the Lord is. So yes, He does exist, He is in control, and He is good in every way.
Finally, these verses from Habbakuk 3: 17 – 19 strengthen my faith and help me see that God is in control:
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign LORD is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights.”