the nature of God and how God relates to us is something about which i spend much time thinking. in the past, i believed that God had a detailed plan for each of our lives, that we were placed on this earth to fulfill a specific purpose, a decidedly calvinist point-of-view. along these lines, i believed that each of us had the responsibility to seek God's plan for our lives and, once that plan was discerned, we were to follow it. this would mean that God is directly and intimately involved in every act of every person, constantly trying to pull us into line. that would mean, too, that the God who is so involved in directing every person's life stands idly by in the face of great evil, permitting terrible cruelty to be visited on the very people God seeks to direct.
of late, i'm not at all convinced that this is the nature of God. more and more, i am inclined to believe, or at least to explore, the idea that God is ever-present, always ready to help and comfort us when we permit God to do so, but that God's will is simply that we seek to treat others as we want to be treated, that we try to live as beings created in God's image. beyond that, i believe God gives us the freedom to make our own choices, whether they be good or bad. the problem of evil and suffering is one that we create for ourselves. God is involved only to the extent that God gives us the freedom to live our lives practicing good or evil. all of us do some of both, but there are a few who do much good and little evil, while a few do much evil and little good.
the great question of the existence of evil and the suffering it produces is one with which we all struggle, and my superficial and all-to-brief writing about it only begins to scratch the surface of the question. i continue my struggle, and my prayer for each of us is, that no matter what our religious or philosophical perspective, we seek to do good for our fellow creatures and to avoid harm to those with whom we share this planet.