If making your guest squirm uncomfortably is the measure of success, then the TV journalist performed magnificently. Referring to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the reporter asserted to a religious leader: “Either God is all-powerful and He doesn’t care about the people of Japan and their suffering, or He does care about the people but He’s not really powerful. Which one is it?” The question commits a logical fallacy. The underlying presupposition—God is either A, or He must be B—doesn’t reflect reality.

In the Bible, Job’s epic trials were compounded with a little “help” from his friends. Eliphaz thought his troubles were well deserved. “Do the innocent die?” he asked. “Those who plant trouble and cultivate evil will harvest the same” (Job 4:7-8). Job must have done something evil, or he wouldn’t be suffering. The truth, of course, was far more complex.

In the movie Bruce Almighty, “God” lets a disgruntled TV reporter try to play God to one small area for a brief time. He gives Bruce only a couple of rules, one of which is, “You can’t mess with free will.”

Astonishingly, that’s a limitation God places on Himself. He doesn’t mess with free will. At the dawn of the human race, God placed two trees in the middle of the Garden of Eden. One of them came with a simple instruction to the first man: Don’t eat from it! Adam and Eve chose poorly (Genesis 3:1-7), and the result has been a cursed creation ever since (Genesis 3:14-19).

Choices have consequences. We collectively chose through Adam to rebel against God (Romans 5:12-19). In the process, all creation became cursed (Romans 8:20). But God didn’t leave us there. His story is one of love and redemption (Romans 5:6-11). But He leaves it to us to reject or accept it.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Samuel 5:1-12