God is good.
I rehearse this, in my mind, trying different readings. None of them are believable.
God is sometimes good.
Like a traffic light is sometimes green? How automatic, even arbitrary.
God can be good.
This seems better; after all, if you undercase the first letter and add an “o” in the middle, God can be good.
I have a conflict of interest. I have accepted gifts from God my whole life…an otter keychain (with real fake fur – I found it on the ground somewhere when I was a kid. I put it on my key ring – which at the time was all keychains and no keys – for a long while, at least as long as I refused to wear jeans because they weren’t comfortable), and parents to rejoice in my adoption of this miniature mammal, and enough food to feed him, and a bedside table to put him on, and a bed to fall asleep in as I stared at him, deciding the next day’s adventures.
What about the other ones. The ones who only see the back of God’s head as He’s watching a movie. A movie about their struggle. They try to tap him on the shoulder, but they can’t reach, they try to scream, but their voice is snuffed out. The prisoner who races in pale terror to tell a guard an inmate is trying to rape him, only to hear the vacant response: “just let him. Get it over with.” The young woman held captive by her father, physically, emotionally, sexually abused into believing that he is a godly man.
This is not “the problem of evil,” which makes it sound like something that can be calmed by calculators, or rational conversation. This is just incomprehensible. How can He watch this movie? How could He allow this movie to be made?
I don’t know. So I ask Mindy, a friend who’s done everything, and had everything done to her, and still came to the God conclusion.
“What do you think about God and evil?”
“God and evil?”
“Why does he allow it? How can they co-exist?”
She pauses, then mumbles thoughtfully, “God and evil. All right, let’s get to it.” She looks out the window. “If God…if God stopped people from killing and raping and stealing, then…we’d all be mechanics.”
I look at her. “Mechanical?” I ask.
“Yeah, right. And if he stopped people from killing one another, there’d be overpopulation.”
“But it’s wicked,” she says, and her remaining teeth put aside their differences and work together to form a smile.