Asking God, WHY?
©Rhonda Pethoud 1/12/2015
For many of us, life is not a bowl of cherries. People suffer every single day. Many have illnesses or physical challenges for which there is no medical cure or answer; others face financial challenges, relationship challenges, people are grieving, sad or just inexplicably unhappy. Some need a job or a car to get to work. There are people right here in the USA who can’t feed their kids. People call out to God, WHY are you allowing this to happen to me? For many people, things are getting worse instead of better.
There are those who are so upset by the tragic news they see every day that they, too, call out to God, WHY are you allowing bad things to happen to innocent people? In some cases, people cannot find the will to believe in a God who would allow such atrocities to occur. They demand that a Christian explain the Holocaust, for example. Where was God then? What about evil acts committed against helpless children and animals? Where is God during these times?
Many of us find ourselves at the end of another year with no answers to our most pressing issues. We have questions and we want to know, Where Is God? They are complex questions and I would never presume to make them seem trivial by attempting to answer in a few paragraphs. But the one thing everyone should know is that God is, was and always will be. He is the same today and yesterday, and will be the same tomorrow. (Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.) He never changes.
What changes, is us.
God gave Adam and Eve permission to enjoy everything on earth freely and without reserve, except for the one tree that bore the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. (Was there an actual tree or was this just information placed in their hearts? Is the story allegorical or literal? I don’t know, but the story gives us what God wanted us to know – that’s what we need to understand.) What this means is, God didn’t want Adam and Eve to have knowledge of good and evil; He only wanted them to know His goodness and mercy. God didn’t want Adam and Eve to want to do evil, so He gave them a choice. They could choose only the good – or they could choose good and evil. (This story is found in Genesis 2:4-3:24)
Well, we know what happened. The choice was made and man’s fate was sealed for all time: God knew the moment that Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and as a result, they were destined to work for their living instead of enjoying all good things God had been willing to freely give. They would work all the days of their life and they would ultimately die without the protection of God, cast into hell for eternity unless they came to Him willingly and asked Him for forgiveness of their sins (forgiveness was “purchased” in those days through the sacrifice of a clean, unblemished lamb – the blood sacrifice was required to cover man’s sin. This is a foretelling of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, thereby purchasing our salvation saving us from eternal damnation which would be the result of our sin without His sacrifice through His death on the cross. His resurrection shows us that believers will live with Him in heaven for all eternity).
God’s judgment on Adam and Eve was that all of mankind would forever be born with a sin nature – the proclivity to commit acts of sin – and mankind would have to fight that tendency his entire life. For some, it’s a little easier – some people are able to overcome whatever it is that prompts them to do evil; some are delivered by God after much prayer and introspection and some simply indulge themselves in whatever sin or evil feels good to them at any given moment, with no thought or regard to others who will be affected by their decision.
Those who indulge themselves in sin or evil are foisting their sin or evil upon others. This is an important distinction to make. Just because you or I choose not to do a particular thing, that doesn’t mean someone else won’t come along and draw us into their wake. Sometimes this happens because we are not strong enough to resist the suggestion, and sometimes it happens simply because we were nearby. Every person has been born with the sin nature and the ability to choose whether they will or will not. The evil is in people, not in God.
This is the explanation for the Holocaust, wars, school shootings, abortion, the kidnapping of young girls by ISIS terrorists and other abominable acts toward children and animals – all sin is a choice by someone. Horrifying to think of it that way, isn’t it? But, it’s the truth. Someone chooses to sin, and innocent others pay the price. Read my post about Joseph from December 20, 2014. Within the story about Joseph, God shows us that being faithful to Him in prayer and thanksgiving results in deliverance from our affliction. For some it comes in this life and others will find it in eternity. Joseph knew this.
Another reason that illness and physical disabilities exist is because we live in a fallen world. Satan is the ruler of earth, and he is the author of its destruction. Scripture tells us in John 10:10 that Jesus said, “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.” This can mean, steal your peace, kill your dreams, destroy your health, or any number of other ways Satan steals, kills and destroys. 1Peter 5:8 tells us that Satan “prowls around like a lion, searching for those he can devour.” Satan is searching for victims constantly. Victims are those who do not remain strong in the Word, believing that Jesus came to give us HIS peace (John 14:27) and that we can receive His peace through our belief in His sacrifice. We are to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33), meaning, look first to HIM. Believe first, in Him; study the Word, try to be as godly as possible, and as we do, the Holy Spirit changes our hearts. God sees the changes because He can read our hearts, and He will answer our prayers. Perhaps not by giving us what WE want, but we will be sure that whatever He decides will be the right thing for us.
While there is no one checklist, the Bible is very clear about what sin is; begin with the 10 Commandments (numbered by me, in parenthesis) from Exodus 20:
(the first five commandments are commands on how to live for God, the last five are commands on how to live in the World)
And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (#1)
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. (#2)
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (#3)
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (#4)
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. (#5)
13 Thou shalt not kill. (#6)
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. (#7)
15 Thou shalt not steal. (#8)
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. (#9)
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. (#10)
Then read Proverbs 6:16-19 which says: “these six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
We go on to Galatians and Leviticus:
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast. Leviticus 20:15
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13
It’s probably becoming pretty clear at this point what God expects of His people.
Does God protect His people from being drawn into evil and sin? He will, if you ask Him – He will help you overcome the tendency to choose the sin through the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s heart. But He doesn’t automatically prevent evil and sin from occurring because of the sin nature – the choice that was given to mankind – and the fallen world in which we live. He allows us to choose, and when someone chooses evil, bad things often befall others because of that person’s choice. Think of the atrocities of the school shootings in this country: one person makes an evil choice and many innocents suffer because of it. If by now you don’t believe we are in a spiritual battle between good and evil, you need to do some research on that subject because it’s getting much worse and will continue until Jesus defeats Satan at the 2nd Coming.
Does God always protect us from evil if we pray every day? Not necessarily. We ask Him to protect us; we pray that He will – but sometimes His plan for us is something different, and Christians must be willing to accept God’s will for their life, whatever that may be. In some cases, to bring a person to their knees is the only way God can reach them because people refuse to submit to His will.
One thing is sure – you won’t be under God’s protection unless you submit yourself to His will, and ask Him to be with you always. That’s why it’s so important to remember to pray every day and ask God to be with you and with those whom you love – to place His hedge of protection around you and them, and keep all of you from evil. It’s a foundational part of the Lord’s prayer that we ask God daily for His protection and guidance.
When good people see evil things happening, God wants us to pray. Ask Him to intervene. Thank Him for the hedge of protection He places around you and your family, and ask Him to heal the nation, and to change the hearts of those who would commit these evil acts. Ask Him if there is anything you can do to help and be prepared to answer to what He tells you to do.
When you are suffering because of sickness or physical ailments, one thing that must be understood is, our bodies age and break down over time. We can certainly ask God to heal us and He might if that’s His will for our life – but we must also thank God for the strength to get through a day filled with pain and suffering. Sometimes our pain and suffering is the result of a sudden onset event like an accident or illness, and sometimes it is the result of a life of bodily abuse. A person who takes drugs or smokes all his life will likely suffer some ailments as he gets older because of the extra strain put on his body trying to filter those chemicals over a long period of time. Will God make that person’s body like new if he prays earnestly and asks God to do it? I don’t know. Perhaps – God certainly could, but it’s far more likely that God will allow the consequences of what we’ve done to our body to run its course. He will forgive us for the sin if we repent and ask Him and we’ll be with Him in heaven when we die – but the consequences of our actions in this life don’t necessarily disappear. But God is always available to soothe our tender spirits and encourage us with His word. Jesus said, ” Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 Always remember, Jesus gave you HIS perfect peace. Appropriate that peace by your faith in God’s grace and KNOW you have it.
I don’t know if God will heal you. But – there are literally thousands and thousands of testimonies citing the inexplicable healing of cancer, illness and disease. Doctors can’t explain what happened, but the people were healed and the x-rays prove it. People call these miracles from God and I absolutely believe that miracles happen every day because people pray and ask God to heal them. I believe it all depends upon what God has already designed for our life.
This means, keep praying. There are thousands of people who had been praying for years, asking for healing and thanking God for remembering them and delivering them from the afflictions they suffer who suddenly found themselves healed. God’s ways are not our ways so we don’t know what things have to be in place for God to act on our behalf. This must be placed here, that must be placed there – Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-3), so He is at work on our behalf when we pray. If God wishes it to be so, it will be so, because the Bible says so! We must continue to knock, seek and ask (Matthew 7:7). Nobody knows what God’s timetable is and I’m sure that is no accident because God wants us to remain in fellowship with Him, every day. He won’t reveal what He’s going to do six months from now or two years from now – He’ll give you the next thing you’re to do and once you’ve accomplished that, He’ll give you the next step.
If you’re suffering, ask God to show you what you can do to make things better. Ask God to heal you. Ask God to give you strength to endure, an attitude of thankfulness for what is good and right in your life, and continue to believe that God will intervene.
Maybe you’ve been believing for God to heal you or deliver you for a long time already. You’re getting discouraged because you’re not seeing the manifestation of God’s divine intervention in your life and the problem has not disappeared. Maybe it got worse. We must always remember, THY WILL BE DONE. God decides. We do not. But we can continue to believe, because we do not know what God will do in the future.
Now is the time to dig deeper and believe. Keep on believing, because God is a God of “suddenly”. Suddenly, they were healed. Immediately, they were delivered. Do a search on bible.com or biblegateway.com for scriptures about suddenly and imediate healing and deliverance.
John 5:9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked; and on the same day was the sabbath.
It is only by your faith in Jesus’ sacrifice that God will intervene. Keep your focus on the finished work of Jesus on the cross, for it is by and through our faith in His sacrifice that we are able to ask God for healing and deliverance, and it is by and through our faith in His sacrifice that things we have not yet seen, will come to pass. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Remember these words: His Grace, My Faith.
Pray for Israel and for the United States. Pray that our President will obey God, and pray that the Congress and Senate do the right thing. Pray that understanding will come to the many people who do not recognize the face of evil and that God will deliver us from their grasp. Pray for the safety of innocents and that Christians everywhere will come together in prayer, focusing on changing the hearts of men through the power of the Holy Spirit.
May God’s blessings and hedge of protection surround you in the New Year. Amen.