“Yet the contest proceeds.”

People have always struggled to understand why God allows bad things happen.

In this excerpt from The Man Who Saved the Union:  Ulysses Grant in War and Peace by H.W. Brands, ©2012, Abraham Lincoln tries to make sense of the world:

“The President was in deep distress,” Attorney General Edward Bates recorded.  “He seemed wrung by the bitterest anguish–said he felt almost ready to hang himself.”  Lincoln had never been religious, but now he began searching for guidance from above.  “The will of God prevails,” he mused privately.  “In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God.  Both may be, one must be wrong.  God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.  In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party.”  The ways of the Almighty were inscrutable.  “He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest.  Yet the contest began.  And having begun, He could give the final victory to either side any day.  Yet the contest proceeds.”