Question: Why doesn’t God do something to stop the terrible suffering of people? Doesn’t He hear prayers anymore?
Answer: God DOES act to relieve suffering, and He definitely DOES hear our prayers! We are not always watchful for His answers.
We are not the only ones to wonder God why He allows as much heartache and loss as He does. The Bible tells us of numerous examples, such as Joseph. He must have wondered why God would allow his jealous older brothers to sell him into slavery to get rid of him. Later, he was falsely accused while serving in a government official’s household and sent to prison for years. God had a miraculous plan, and you’ll be astonished at what God’s agenda turned out to be! Read his story in Genesis chapters 37, 39-47. It’s one of many instances of God’s control over events resulting in much more than anyone had imagined.
David is another well-known example of a man who had to suffer through very hard times before God blessed him abundantly. He became king over the Israelites but had to deal with several crises, some because of his own bad choices. At one point, one of David’s sons gathered a small army to hunt him down and kill him so the arrogant heir could take over as king. Sadly, he endured the death of this beloved son. And that instance wasn’t the only problem he grieved over regarding his children. Even though he made multiple mistakes that cost him greatly, God blessed him after he asked for forgiveness. Read I Samuel chapters 16 – 24, 2 Samuel – all chapters, I Kings chapter 1.
Job endured the sudden tragic losses of his children during a storm, terrible sores, sickness, his wife’s angry words, catastrophic financial disaster, and his friends’ critical opinions about his situation that hurt much more than they helped. Surprisingly, he never asked why those things were happening to him. The closest he ever came was when he said to God, “Show me why You contend with me” (Job 10:2). Job was sharing his agony of spirit with the very God he could not understand. The Bible tells us his happy ending, though, and how God rewarded him immensely for keeping his faith in God’s perfect plans for his life.
God ALWAYS has a much greater plan for our lives than we do! Our plans can be quite short-sighted.
“Now glory be to God who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. May He be given glory forever and ever through endless ages because of His master plan of salvation for the church through Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 3:20-21
There is so much we don’t understand about our lives on earth – why we are here, what will happen to us in the future, and whether God has reasons for allowing certain things to happen to us. The Bible tells us much about how God intervened in the lives of people over the centuries. It’s a mystery to us why He allowed some losses yet blocked others. Only He knew the reasons for His divine direction. Still, the scripture’s pages are where we find the answers we seek. They demonstrate that God always has a plan! We just can’t see it…yet. It’s extremely difficult to be patient during hard times, but that’s what God desires for us to do. He may reveal His purposes, or we may not know until we get to heaven.
If you’ve read the last book of the Bible, then you already know better days are coming! In this final chapter of the New Testament, the book of Revelation, Jesus promised us a beautiful and happy future:
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, not crying, either shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said unto me, “Write – for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:4-5
We wish we could have those blessings right now, but we are not living in heaven, where there will be no more death, sorrow, or pain. We live in a fallen world, which means that because of our sins against God, we suffer the consequences of our sins and those of others. Long ago, after the creation of the world, the first people rebelled against God, and they were cast out of the perfect place God had created for them (Genesis 3). People have suffered ever since. Thankfully, God has not left us alone but still hears our prayers, watches over our lives, and responds to our needs.
Jesus suffered, too. He knows exactly what it’s like to live in this fallen world with its trouble and pain. From Isaiah 53:3-5:
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.
Like one from whom men hide their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely, He took on our infirmities and carried our sorrows; yet we considered Him stricken by God, struck down and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
The most important fact to understand from God’s word, the Bible scriptures, is that God sent His Son Jesus into our world with the important purpose to suffer and die to pay the penalty for the sins of humankind. When He arose from the dead on the 3rd day, He demonstrated to us how we can also live again with Him after death – forever!
To live with Jesus forever in Paradise after physical death, we must renounce our sins of rebellion against Him, turn away from our sins, ask for His forgiveness, and thank Him for His ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.
Have YOU talked with Jesus about this? Don’t put it off another minute! No one knows how long life will be, and after death, it will be too late to change your mind and put your full trust in Him. If you aren’t sure what to say, follow this example:
Jesus, I’m sorry I’ve waited this long to come to you and admit I am sincerely sorry for all I have done wrong, knowingly and unknowingly. Please forgive me and help me to stop the destructive habits I have and turn to you every day for the help I desperately need. It has taken me this long to realize that I can’t save myself and need your miraculous intervention in my life. Thank you for dying on the cross to pay for my sins and coming back to life again to show me I can have a wonderful life after death. Please encourage me and do whatever is necessary to keep me close to you and on the right path for the remainder of my life. Thank you! Amen.
“But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead in our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead.” Ephesians 2:4-5