Nehemiah 9.33 proclaims, You are righteous with regard to all that has happened to us, for You have acted faithfully. It is we who have been in the wrong!
When things go badly for us our propensity is to blame God. Our thinking goes something like, ‘if He loved me He would do good to me.’ “Since He is all powerful He can keep the bad from happening.” “Since I am a good person God should want good for me.” “Since bad is happening to me anyway either God is not good or God is not all powerful.”
The assumption underlying these thoughts is that God is supposed to keep bad things from happening to me because I am a good person. I don’t measure my behavior by God’s commands, I measure God’s behavior by my expectations for Him. In this way we are like little children. They view the world from their self interest having little regard for the welfare of others.
At the extreme, this is why we kill and steal. We take revenge because people have not treated us as we think they should. Our default thinking is not what am I doing to obey God but rather what are people doing that makes me unhappy. My irritation comes from people, God and things in the world not working according to my predetermined will. Who is God in this scenario? Me! I realize I am not really God but I certainly want to be.
Evil in the world is the result of each of us living as god instead of each of us living for God. Yet in spite of our disregard for the good ways of God that if lived would make all of our lives easier, He remains patient and faithful showering us with goodness despite ourselves. Again, like the little child who has a tantrum, we still feed them and clothe them though they have been little terrors all day. We treat our children well despite their behavior because we love them.
So too God loves us and treats us well despite our behavior. Yes He allows us to hurt ourselves and one another because He has given us free will so that we could freely love Him. Our struggle is not really with God. He is good, loving and wonderful.
Our struggle is with ourselves and one another who are really not good but perpetually selfish which results in hardships for ourselves and one another.