A Parable concerning the question; If there is a God, why do bad things happen?
There was once an architect who had the idea of creating the greatest home for people there had ever been. He had it all worked out in his mind to build the nicest block of flats in the universe, it would be perfection. He put his plans down on paper and listed everything he felt would be needed, not just to actually build it, but to permanently sustain those who would live there. He needed to ensure the residents would never want for anything and could live free, happy and in peace.
There would be an unending well, that would supply the water, a huge garden that would bring beauty and as much food as would ever be needed, as well as plants that would grow materials to make clothes. The actual building would be big enough to give more than enough space for those who lived there and was designed and placed in a location that meant all would get light and warmth from the sun, even in winter.
After he finished the building he went for a look round at how nice it was, he was pleased but waited a little while for the garden to grow, and everything to settle and be ready, then the day came when it was ready and he invited people to move in. He told them, they had everything they would ever need in abundance and would not even need to pay rent, as he did not need anything, only to know that they were happy, and to that end all he asked, in return for their living there, was to have their thanks, and let him know how things were going.
They all lived there, in that wonderful place, for a time, in harmony, it went well, and although the architect stopped by from time to time and he was shown thanks, to know the residents were happy and self-sufficient he left them alone more, as the whole point of the exercise was to have them need or want for nothing.
One day, the emails and letters of thanks stopped coming. He was concerned and wondered what was going on, so he stopped by, to find the wonderful block of flats he had built, was in disrepair, damaged, and generally in mess and confusion.
He found that the residents had been squandering his gift to them, they had wasted and squandered the garden, had cut down trees and ransacked the plants, and inside it was worse. Some of the residents had decided they wanted more than they had, and had taken rooms and resources from the weaker ones, they had kept things to themselves, like food and cotton, forcing others to trade to get them, meaning they had to work twice as hard as they needed to in order to survive. What had hurt him the most, was that the stronger more dominant ones had told the others that it was all the idea of the architect in order to keep them in line.
He was horrified.
He decided to send his son, whom he wished to learn the family business anyway to work as a caretaker, to live with the people.
Some did not believe him at first, thinking he was not the son of the architect, believing him to be playing the games that they had been, in order to gain control. However, in the end, he taught them to work together again, helped them rebuild, showed them the error of their ways, helped the weaker to become stronger, and gave them all they needed again to succeed. He also gave them some simple rules on how they could prevent the previous problems from happening again.
His father was so pleased; he brought him back home and made him his right-hand man in the family business.
Thank you notes started again, and again order, balance and peace ruled their lives, for a time of course…
Ask yourself one question. Who was to blame in this story? Was the architect, who lovingly built the wonderful home, or the ungrateful residents, who became bullies, and imposing on the weaker one, sending the order into chaos?
We have been given the same such gift by God, to live freely and in peace, with all we ever needed, but that gift is squandered by the strong, forcing the weak to work harder than they should need to.
Is it not people who cause the problems of this Earth, not God, and it is us, my friends, and only us, who can fix them once again.
There is a deeper message in this story too, that goes beyond simply the first question posed.
The problems that we face in the world are very much money related at the moment; economy this, resources that, governments, parliaments and kings all bedraggled and in shock, and this is passed down to the people, who end up footing the bill for fixing things.
Who invented the economy, trade, commerce, and giving people the power to run our lives?
God did not say in the beginning thou shalt float heaven on the stock exchange and I will charge an entry fee, or rent for eternity. God did not suggest that we should argue, fight or kill each other over a piece of cloth, meant to represent a piece of land that is ‘owned’.
Most importantly, and here is the clincher, God, at no point, wanted us to kill each other, over the different ways we feel we should say ‘thank you’ to him.
No, humans made that choice. Which in turn sours the ‘thank you’, does it not?
There is an old saying, ‘You’ve made your bed, now lay in it.’ I have always found this to be somewhat defeatist, I could never understand the logic behind it. If you don’t like how the bed was made, learn from it and start again.
If humans are the architects of their own troubles, learn from it, and start again. Sometimes the simplest of answers truly is the only way forward, are they not?