When people who love and follow God die in a sudden, unexpected or tragic way—it can cause us to question where God was and why He did not intervene.
Psalm 46:1 tells us: “He is our refuge and our strength, and a help in time of trouble.” In spite of this reassurance our Christian brothers and sisters die in accidents, or as a result of illness, and many of us have known suffering ourselves.
The fact is although God is always with us and standing by to aid us nowhere in Scripture are we promised a life free of pain, suffering and tragedy. In fact the Apostle Peter tells us: "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (I Peter 4:12).
During Job’s time, there was a misunderstanding expressed by Job’s friends. They assumed Job somehow deserved what was happening to him as a result of his sins. Jesus Christ also encountered this line of thought when two tragic situations occurred in Judea. In one situation, a number of people from Galilee were killed and their blood mingled with the sacrifices by Pontius Pilate. In another, others were killed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed (Luke 13:1-5).
Christ’s point regarding these two incidents was that these people were no worse sinners than anyone else, but that this fate—death—would come to all men and that we must redeem the time and repent while we still can.
Apart from time and chance happening to everyone and God deciding to intervene in certain circumstances, there is also the issue that we often suffer the unavoidable consequences of our own unwise behaviour. A modern day example of this would be—you can’t smoke for 50 years and then question why God didn’t protect you from lung cancer. There are consequences to our choices and we ultimately reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). This is a biblical principle.
Satan is the god of this age (II Corinthians 4:4). As such, most of the pain, suffering and tragedy that we see in the world around us today is a direct result of his influence and human beings succumbing to that influence. (You can read more about Satan and his evil demons in the next article in this issue: Is There An Evil Spirit World?)
Reading on from 1 Peter 4:12, quoted at the beginning of this article where apostle Peter tells us to expect hardship and trials, we are told how we react to our sufferings is what counts (I Peter 4:13-17).
We don’t always understand why God does what He does—why some live and others do not, but we can be assured of the fulfillment of God’s promise that we will see our loved ones again in the wonderful Kingdom of God. (See our free brochure: What Happens After Death?)
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