Why Has God Been So Patient?
LOOK at the downcast face of a starving child. See his emaciated frame and bloated belly. Think about his desperate need for food, and observe the empty bowl he carries. Perhaps his mother looks on through sunken eyes, her own face a grim picture of hopelessness. Then try to suppress your sorrow—yes, and fight back your tears.
This scene is repeated millions of times in the 2.3 million square miles [6 million sq km] of the famine-stricken region known as the Sahel. It stretches over 3,000 miles [4,800 km] across Africa south of the Sahara Desert, from Senegal on the Atlantic Coast to Ethiopia on the Red Sea. Of course, famine also stalks multitudes in other lands. The World Health Organization reports that about 1.1 thousand million people around the earth are seriously ill or malnourished.
Hunger is, of course, only one aspect of human suffering. Man pollutes the earth, and all of us are affected. Political systems countenance injustice and warfare that bring distress and death to many. Why does God permit such things? Does he care about us?
God Does Care!
Our Creator does care about us. There is much proof of this and of his ability to make things work together for our good and for harmony in all of his creation. For instance, look at the accompanying picture of a bee visiting a blossom on a fruit tree. The bee depends on the blossom for the nectar it needs for nourishment. In turn, the tree is dependent on pollen that the bee’s body carries from a similar tree. In this way, the blossom is pollinated so that fruit will develop. Not all fruit trees are pollinated in this way, but God has surely arranged for unusual cooperation in this case. And his goodness results in the fruit that we may eat with pleasure and benefit.
The bee itself is part of a well-organized swarm of more than 30,000 bees. Some guard the hive, while others clean or ventilate it. Still others store nectar and pollen, feed larvae, or scout for new nectar sources. God himself has so arranged matters that we benefit when such busy bees produce sweet and nourishing honey that delights our palate.
The miracle of cooperation between bees and plants and among the insects themselves is only one of many proofs that the Creator is perfectly capable of making living things cooperate with one another. For that matter, “God is a God, not of disorder, but of peace.” (1 Corinthians 14:33) Why, then, has he allowed mankind to exist in such disharmony, with resulting misery for so many? If God cares about us, why has he waited so long to correct this situation? Indeed, why has God been so patient?
God’s Word, the Bible, answers such questions. This remarkable book tells us that Jehovah God has been patient for a good reason. What is that reason? And how much longer will God’s patience last?
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Cover photo: Frilet/Sipa