Last night, I went to see the new movie Captain Marvel. If you like superhero movies with lots of action and likable main characters, you’ll enjoy this one. Or if you just want to take your daughter to see a movie with a strong female lead, this is a good choice.
Don’t worry—I won’t give away anything about the movie that hasn’t been in the trailers. And I must admit, the studio did a good job of not giving away too much in the trailers. There are a lot of surprises in the movie, even for people who are familiar with the main characters from Marvel comic books.
You can tell from the Blockbuster store in the trailer that this story takes place in the past. In fact, it’s sometime in the 1990’s. It’s an origin story for a character who is expected to play a large role in future Marvel movies. One question left unanswered by the movie is where has Captain Marvel been since the 90’s? Why hasn’t she been around to help with the serious threats to earth we’ve seen in other Marvel movies?
And that got me thinking about one of the biggest (possibly the biggest) question to plague Christianity. Christians believe in a supernatural, all-powerful, all-knowing, and loving God. But where is he when bad things happen in our lives? What has he been doing during the thousands of years of wars, starvation, and natural disasters? Why hasn’t he put a stop to all the evil in the world? Why did he let it start in the first place?
Believers have grappled with these questions and have come up with different answers, including some that stray from orthodox Christian beliefs. For example, some suggest that maybe God isn’t all-powerful or all-knowing, or maybe he doesn’t love us as the Bible says. But if we assume the Bible is truthful in telling us that God loves us and that he has the power and authority to do all that he desires, we have to accept the idea that God has a perfectly good reason to allow evil and suffering in the world.
And that’s where we lose people.
But we don’t have to.
Jesus was once asked by his disciples why a man was born blind. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:2-3) Then Jesus healed the man, clearly displaying “the works of God.”
But the works of God are not limited to healing. We don’t just see God at work in the blessings he provides. We see him in the peace he gives to the dying, the patience he gives to the persecuted, the courage he gives to the missionary, and the hope he gives to the hungry. We feel his presence most clearly in the humble surrender of our hearts to his will when we are least able to understand it. And if we let other people see God working in us then, maybe we won’t lose them after all.
The greatest hope of Christianity is that God will set everything right in the end. Although we may not have all the answers now, we believe that there will be justice. There will be an end to pain and suffering. If we don’t see it in this world or this age, we’ll see it in the next. So, we can confidently say with the Psalmist: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)
To learn more about how Christians respond to the problem of evil in the world, I recommend you watch this podcast from the Dallas Theological Seminary.
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Stories are a metaphor for life. That's a deep way of saying we can learn life lessons from stories we read or watch on stage or on big or small screens. When viewed through a Christian worldview, even secular films and books can tell us something about our Christian walk. Here you will find a collection of blog posts with lessons I have learned from stories. I hope you enjoy them!