How can we be sure that God, in his infinite wisdom, would not tolerate certain short-range evils in order for more long-ranged goods that we, as finite beings, could never understand?
That's a good question. I've heard others ask why God did not answer the prayers of parents whose children were dying from accident or disease. And to that point, let’s say that little, five year old Jimmy falls prey to some terrible disease and bites the proverbial dust. And now we want to know why God didn’t answer his parents’ prayers for his recovery. Well, little did we know that Jimmy was going to grow up and have a nice little place in the country where he would have had some geese. Then one Sunday, one of his geese--the really mean one with goslings--would get loose. And as it so happens, a Sunday School bus carrying thirty-four children would be passing by Jimmy’s farm. The bus’s air conditioner isn’t working, and, being an especially hot day, the driver would have her side-window open. When the bus stops at an intersection in front of Jimmy’s place, the goose would see the bus as some kind of a threat to her goslings. As the bus is gaining speed after leaving the intersection, the goose would fly into the open window and go at the driver. As a result, she would inadvertently hit the gas pedal, and before you can say WTF--or more appropriately in this case, OMG--the bus would smash into a bridge abutment, burst into flames, and kill twenty-seven of the Christian children and terribly disfigure the rest of them.
Jimmy would hear the crash and then run to the scene. Having been thrown through the windshield, the goose and driver are lying in the ditch, dead. Jimmy recognizes his goose, and, smelling a lawsuit, or worse, grabs the goose and runs farther down the road and throws it into the water-filled ditch. He finds a rock and places it on the dead goose’s body. Suddenly the final scene in the movie “Deliverance” pops into his head, and he quickly finds another, way bigger rock and puts it on the dead goose under the water. Then he runs back to the house and calls 911.
So, just because we can’t see the bigger picture doesn’t mean God can’t. The life of Jimmy versus the lives of thirty-four Christians. And Jimmy wasn’t even a Christian! For God, it was a no-brainer; Jimmy had to go. As an aside, just before the bus tragedy that would have happened, that same goose would have gotten loose and flogged an innocent kitten to death. And that kitten would have grown up to kill the rat that carried the disease that devastated the whole community . . . including children!! But God, being all-knowing, allowed for Jimmy’s demise, which prevented the goose, which prevented the bus accident, and the kitten lived to kill the rat, which prevented the disease. So, all's well that ends well . . . I guess.