What does one do when it seems that God is no longer answering our prayers? Interestingly, this isn’t an issue when we are experiencing good health, steady employment, great friends and a beaut family life etcetera. People are quick to say at those times that God is good! Indeed He is!
However, it does seem to become a very real issue when things are not going well. You lose your job; your marriage breaks up; one of your children is ‘off the rails,’ or has left the Christian faith, or the Lord doesn’t seem to be hearing your earnest prayer for healing anymore.
And this becomes particularly problematic for a person who has loved the Lord all his life and served Him faithfully. “Where is God when I need Him most? It doesn’t help to pray” are the familiar cries. As a result there is a deafening silence about God’s goodness, even though He may have blessed them and their family with good health and much more for twenty, forty, sixty and sometimes even eighty years plus!
I guess for someone who has been blessed with good health for most of his life, one has to be really careful what he pens to paper. However, I once remember a father who ‘lost’ his son after an automobile accident. His son was just eighteen years old. When questioned about his family’s grief he simply said, “Why not? Why shouldn’t our faithful God allow this to happen to our family? Just because we are Christians doesn’t mean we are exempt from these dreadful experiences. Many years later, this same father when diagnosed with terminal cancer himself made the same reply when loved ones dared to ask, “Why?” This Christian man didn’t think he was special or didn’t deserve it or that he was too young, he simply trusted completely in his Saviour’s eternal care, both for the present and for eternity. What a blessed man!
Let’s be honest, thousands of people lose their lives through accidents and illness every year. Why should Christians think they deserve to be exempt from accidents and illnesses? God hasn’t promised that at all. In fact, we too are sinners and deserving of the same things that afflict the common man.
However, God has promised in His word that all the days for each one of us have been ordained. We will not leave this earthly sojourn until our days on earth are done (Psa 139:16). And when they are done, Christians go home to be with the Lord because of what God the Father has done for them in Christ!
It is sad then when people think of their heavenly Father as only being ‘good’ when things are presently going well for them. God is always ‘good’, even when in His infinite wisdom and providence has ordained for us to suffer lose through accident or be afflicted with serious or terminal illnesses. It’s how we respond to it that bears witness of our love and trust to our faithful loving God in Christ.
Whatever happens, be assured our loving Father in heaven has a purpose in it and He has promised to never leave us or forsake us, even when we have to walk through the valley of death (Psa 23; Mat 28:20, Heb 13:5ff). We are forever safe in His eternal hands (John 10:28ff), both when things are good and when things could be better.
Still have doubts? Consider for a moment our Saviour. Jesus was a righteous man. He clung to His Father God from the day His mother bore Him. When He was just twelve years old He knew He had to be in His Father’s house (Lk 2:49). When He was older He said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work” (Jn 4:34). And His perfect obedience to His loving Father led Him to a cross.
While suffering His Father’s wrath for the sins of the world, His enemies taunted him. “He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said ‘I am the Son of God’” (Matt. 27:43). At that time it seems that Jesus also felt forsaken by His Father in His hour of need. He cried out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" The silence from His own loving Father was deafening.
Our Saviour had to be forsaken for He had become sin for us. Yet, because of His cries, our cries for help will never go unheard.
Romans 8:35ff says it so well, “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”
Prayer: Father, may Your Holy Spirit remind us of the rich promises we have in Christ our Saviour, both in the present and for eternity. Amen. JZ.