I was having a conversation with a friend today and she described a close relative who is going through chemotherapy to treat an inoperable brain tumor. In inquiring how I could pray for the relative, I happen to ask if she was strong in her faith (since she was described to me previously as a Christian). My friend replied that no her relative was not very strong in her faith and was infact angry at God for causing her to go through such misery. This did help me to understand how to pray more specifically for this lady. Not only do I pray (to God) for healing of her tumor, but I pray just as much for understanding about how much God loves her as she is going through this difficulty.
This issue is a very common one for many people, Christian and non believers alike. Either they or someone they know is going through deep difficulties, maybe even the loss of a loved one. They are perplexed and angry at the so-called loving God who is putting them through this misery. What kind of loving God would do this?! If you are such a person or know someone who is, may I ask you to consider an alternative?
We all would agree that this world is sinful and some would say evil. The reason for all of the mayhem and madness, the dying and destruction is not because of a loving God, it is because of a wretched and murderous enemy of man; his name is Satan. He is the author of the mayhem and destruction. The cancers and the death of children. The maladies that attack human beings. The Bible calls him "the ruler of the world": Then Jesus told them, “The voice was for your benefit, not mine. The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. (John 12:30-31 NLT) Despite what some people may think, Satan is very real. Satan however has had very willing human beings with which to further his mayhem and misery. This is how the Bible describes us, the human beings who with Satan's urging contribute to the mayhem in this world and yes to the maladies that befall us: As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous — not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.(Romans 3:10-12 NLT).
To the person blaming God for all the tragedies in this world, may I submit that it is the combination of our sinful state and Satan's goal for man's destruction that is truly to be blamed? If you think me wrong, then I simply ask: am I wrong about the continual sinful state of all people? Am I wrong about the reality of Satan or his workings in this world? Forget about me...is the Bible wrong?
We human beings are sinful. Perhaps not sinful in terms of being evil and depraved at all times; but sinful as in habitually coming back to some sort of wrong thinking or wrong behavior. Yes, there is a very real consequence to our continued sinful condition. Yes, sometimes the baby dies not because of any sin he or she committed, but because they were born into an environment of perpetual sinning. This is the consequence of the world in which we live. However despite the fact that yes some die as a result of their ailments, many do not. Do you think Satan wants them dead? You bet he does. The Bible says he is like a lion always on the prowl looking for who he may devour: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NLT). My friend's relative with the brain tumor is alive today because God is preventing Satan from devouring her! Every minute of every day, God is holding the devil back from killing her. Just like He is holding the devil back even right now from killing you and your family. Don't be angry at God, be angry at the devil. He is the author of destruction.
Instead, praise God! Pray to Him! Thank Him for keeping Satan from killing you or whoever you know who are going through extreme difficulty. The Bible says draw near to God and He will draw near to you: So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. (James 4:7-8 NLT)
If you are going through some extreme difficulty, I pray for you now. I pray God's continued mercy on you and your situation. I pray that if you are angry with God, that he will soften your heart and open your eyes to His truth. I pray that you will understand that it is because of God that you have not been defeated or destroyed. It is God who is standing in the devil's way so that you can resist death and destruction. I pray through Jesus to give you strength and encouragement to overcome your difficulty. I gave thanks to God for your encouragement in Christ! I praise Him with you even now. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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