Ask Your Preacher
I have had a very tough life since childhood. I am thirty-three years old now and still find life difficult. Could you please tell me why God allows this to happen?
Dear Constantly Struggling,
Some people suffer greatly, and others face relatively few problems. All suffering is a consequence of sin in this world, but there are several reasons that someone might have a greater portion of trials.
- We reap what is sown (Gal 6:7-8). The choices we make have consequences in this life – and in the next. What people do affects them and those around them that they come in contact with. When we behave godly, certain things happen; when we behave sinfully, other things happen. That is a universal principle of life. If a woman drinks while she is pregnant or a child is neglected and malnourished because of ungodly parents – they will suffer the consequences of the choices their parents make. Some children face health issues that were totally avoidable if the parents had simply lived moral lives. Satan is sowing disaster wherever he can and we are all affected by our own choices and the choices of others around us.
- Sometimes bad things simply happen because they happen. Job suffered greatly, and his children died, but it wasn’t his (or their) fault. Job hadn’t done anything wrong, nor had his kids. It all happened because Satan wanted to do evil (Job 1:6). As long as we live in this world of sin, there will be troubles. Sometimes, there isn’t anyone at fault… just time and chance wreaking havoc in a sinful world (Eccl 9:11).
- Sometimes people suffer so that God can be glorified. Jesus’ disciples asked Him why a certain man had been born blind, and Jesus answered, “So that God’s works might be revealed in him.” (Jhn 9:1-3) This man’s ailment provided an opportunity for God to show His glory. There are times that we suffer, so God can teach us and teach others through our pain (Eccl 7:2-3).
This world isn’t fair – if it were, it would be heaven. Instead, we live in a fallen world where man has been exiled from paradise. This world is not our home; christians await a better world (Heb 11:16). When Adam and Eve sinned, they introduced sin and death into this life, but God designed this world perfectly and gives us hope for a better future in Jesus (1 Cor 15:22).
About the prodigal son in Lk. 15, you said that it is important to God that we all come back, so He can forgive us. But then why can’t all people just be, like, crazy, and in the end of their lives, go to God and ask for forgiveness and all will be fine? What is the argument that keeps someone from doing that?
Last Minute Convert
Dear Last Minute Convert,
The easiest way to answer this question is by referring to Gal 6:7 which says that God can’t be “mocked”. This means that we can’t trick God or fool Him into believing we have changed when we really haven’t. Rom 8:27 says that God searches our hearts, and 1 Jhn 3:20 says that God knows all things. When we come to God for forgiveness, God expects us to not only want forgiveness, but to change our mind about sin. The word ‘repent’ means ‘to change your mind’, and repentance is a requirement for salvation (Acts 2:38). If we attempt to live a sinful life and just “fool” God by asking for forgiveness at the end, it won’t work. God knows whether or not we have truly repented of our sins and are truly sorry for the sins we have committed. It isn’t enough to want forgiveness; you have to hate sin and really believe that you were in the wrong. Our faith in God must be a sincere faith (1 Tim 1:5). If it isn’t sincere, God will know, and He won’t be tricked.
Does the Bible ever say we're made in God's physical form, or could He mean we're made in the likeness of Him via emotions, not physical… love, hate, anger, jealousy, revenge, etc.? Thanks.
Want To Be Like Him
Dear Want To Be Like Him,
We are made in God’s image – but it is our spirit that is crafted in His image, not our bodies. Jhn 4:24 says that God is spiritual, not physical. God existed long before the physical world ever did (Gen 1:1). Our spirits are fashioned after our Heavenly Father, and long after our bodies decay, our spirits will live on.
What should I do to get over lost love?
It is always difficult when a romantic relationship ends, but God promises that if you serve Him, all things will work together for good in your life (Rom 8:28). God tells us to not rush love and romantic relationships (Songs 8:4). If you work on becoming the kind of person you ought to be, the Lord will bless you. Make a decision to become a person prepared to serve God in whatever capacity He sees fit (2 Tim 2:21). When you allow Christ to live in you, life turns out right (Gal 2:20).
In the Old Testament, God tells groups of people to go and completely wipe out another group. How can this be just? I believe I remember there was an instance where He did it to prove to the Israelites that He would be with them if they followed His directions. How can this be explained as an acceptable thing?
P.S love the website! It does so much good! Thanks!
Looking To Justify
Dear Looking To Justify,
God has to make complex decisions that allow individuals the freedom to choose while still keeping the rest of mankind safe. Every time that God has destroyed a nation, He has done it for the safety of other nations and because that nation had become so corrupt that it was unsalvageable (Gen 15:16, Gen 6:5). God knows that infants will be safe in His arms when that nation is destroyed, and it is important to remember that there is a difference between God taking someone’s life and a human making that decision. God is our Creator, and He is intimately aware of where we will go when we die – after all, He is the Judge (Heb 12:23).
When wicked nations are allowed to continue, they inhibit the possibility of future generations obeying God, and they are destructive influences on the rest of mankind. Thankfully, we have a God who knows where to draw the line – not too soon, and not too late.