I know Christians and even many agnostics throughout the centuries have asked the same questions. Even Atheist use the evidence of evil and tragedy in the world to explain away the existence of God, for if a good God exists, surely He wouldn't allow so much sorrow and pain. Right?
As I've been trying to comfort my friends, I've also been on my knees praying for their situations and asking God what is going on. I want to understand Him. We know He is a good God. We know He loves us more than we could ever understand. So why? This is what He impressed upon me from both Scripture and from other believers I've been talking with and from sermons I've heard.
- The problem is a consequence of your own actions or the actions of someone close to you
- You are under attack from the enemy
- God is testing you
- God is using the problem to teach you something important or lead you in a certain direction that will ultimately be for your good.
Here's where it gets tough. Sometimes we get tangled up in other people's consequences. It could be a close friend or a spouse or a child who is doing something wrong, but it ultimately affects us because we love them. A parent could have raised a child in a Godly home but still that child goes out in the world and gets into drugs, etc. A spouse might gamble away the family money or be unfaithful, even if their partner did nothing wrong. God cannot untangle us from the consequences of those we love. The only solution is never to love anyone and that's not possible.
But what if you are simply under attack by the enemy? Once you determine that, it's easy to take authority over him in the name of Jesus and cast him away from you and your family. Remember, Jesus already won the battle. Yes, we are still on enemy territory, but we only need to use His name and demons must flee. Yet, how many Christians actually do this?
Or God could be testing your faith. Does God tempt us? NO. Does He test us? Yes! Jesus tested His disciples all the time. He was constantly asking them questions and checking on their faith. God tested Abraham when He asked him to sacrifice His son. He tested Noah when He asked him to build a boat. The Bible is full of examples of tests from God. He wants you to succeed. He wants you to pass. Why? Because He wants His children to grow up. To be more like Him. To mature.. like any parent would want for His children.
Lastly, God could be either teaching you something, perhaps answering your prayer for stronger faith, or He could be leading you in a certain direction. My new release The Ransom addresses this question. Bad thing after bad thing happens to the heroine and she can't figure out why. Yet in the end God used each event to save her life. Honestly, we all have such limited knowledge and vision. That's where trust comes in.
So, if you're going through rough times, I would encourage you to get with God and ask Him what's going on. Is this a consequence, a test, an attack, or training. He will show you. And remember, it's s okay to yell at God sometimes. It's okay to feel like your faith is wavering, to doubt, to wonder, to question. God can handle it. Remember John the Baptist? Jesus said that he was the greatest man ever born to woman, yet, guess what? After John was thrown in prison, his faith wavered to such a point that he had his friends go ask Jesus if He was the Messiah! In the face of his trouble, even John the Baptist doubted. So, don't feel bad when the same thing happens to you.
Just don't let it consume you. Get alone with God and call upon His strength. Go to His Word and stand on His promises. He is good. He loves you. And He will never leave you.