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).
I have been struggling with this for some time now. I could make this a much more detailed question, but I will try to shorten it the best way I can. When it comes to dating and meeting someone we hope to spend the rest of our lives with, is it wiser to allow things to happen on their own or to engage in things such as online dating? I realize that God allows us to help ourselves, but I often feel doing things such as online dating is perhaps just a way that individuals try to speed up the process and that it might inhibit natural occurrences (i.e. the real deal) from happening. Any feedback would be great.
The Bible gives no specific statements about how to look for a future spouse. Online dating is neither condemned nor endorsed by God’s Word. Rather than advocate one particular way to find a spouse, God instead speaks to the attitudes we must have and the dangers that exist in the world of romance.
- Don’t force it. Song of Solomon is an entire book devoted to romance and marriage. The chorus of that book is the same over and over (Songs 2:7) – it is a warning to avoid forcing relationships merely for the ‘fun’ of romance.
- Avoid all appearances of evil (1 Thess 5:22). Make sure to never put yourself in a situation with someone of the opposite sex that would compromise your (or their) reputation or morals.
- Who they are matters more than how they look. The Bible praises godly spouses for their character (Pr 31:10). Beauty fades, but one’s values endure. Make sure you are spending your time getting to know the person for who they are and for what they find important.
- Treat them with respect. The Scriptures tell us to treat people of the opposite gender like brothers and sisters (1 Tim 5:2). How would you want your siblings to be treated? Make sure you are behaving in a godly way toward anyone you are dating or courting.
- Surround yourself with godly advice. When we are in the here and now of a romantic relationship, we often get caught up with our emotions and lose perspective. That makes it especially important to get the advice of those around you who are wiser and less biased. Parents, grandparents, and other trusted advisors should be sought out as you search for a mate. Surrounding yourself with many good counselors protects you from making a emotional decision that has lifelong consequences (Pr 11:14).
- Last, but not least, we are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17). God wants us to bring our concerns to him, and our desire for a godly spouse is no different. Pray that God sends you someone to faithfully be your mate for life.
Marriage is one of the greatest blessings that God gives mankind. If we do it God’s way, finding a spouse can be a joy and lead to a lifetime of happiness.
What are the differences in modern day and Christian views of marriage/relationships?
Compare And Contrast
Dear Compare And Contrast,
There are a couple of big differences between the Scriptural view of marriage and the way modern culture views it. The Bible says that marriage is more than just a tradition from previous generations; marriage was instituted and created by God at the very beginning (Gen 2:24). God also teaches that living together and sexual relations are only for marriage (1 Cor 7:1-2). All sexual relations outside of marriage are sinful. Another major difference is that the Bible teaches that marriage is only designed between one man and one woman. Homosexual “marriage” isn’t marriage at all (Rom 1:26-27). God designed marriage to be a lifetime commitment between one man and one woman, and He never intended for divorce; even in a sinful world, God only permits Christians to divorce in very few narrow circumstances (Matt 19:9, 1 Cor 7:15).
God designed marriage to be a blessing (Pr 18:22), and when we take a biblical attitude toward marriage, it can be one of the greatest things this side of heaven.
My wife’s grandmother passed away a few months ago. They were very close. My wife came from a Baptist family. When we met, I was able to show her the truth, and now she is a member of the Church; my heart was broken when she looked at me and asked me, "Is it wrong for me (my wife) to think my grandmother is in heaven?” I didn't know what to say. We both know what the Bible says, and we know that no matter what, what we would like to believe is irrelevant. The Bible still says we must be baptized. How can I answer a question my wife already knows the answer to? Does that make any sense? What would you recommend the best way to word this answer? It's much harder than I thought.
Dear Compassionate Husband,
Mourning is such a difficult process because grief isn’t logical; it is emotional. The fact is that you don’t have to give your wife an answer at this time; sometimes the best comfort is what Job’s friends provided him with – quiet companionship (Job 2:13). Sometimes all you need to say is, “I can’t imagine how much you are hurting at this time” and leave it at that.
However, if your wife looks for a more in-depth answer, God says that He finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek 33:11). That tells you that God will not send anyone to hell by accident, from spite, or out of malicious intent. Anyone who ends up in hell really, truly belongs there, and all those who are meant to be in heaven will be there. When your wife’s grandmother faces God on the Day of Judgment, God will make the right decision concerning her fate. There is some comfort in knowing that God will not make any mistakes.
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.