Maybe one of the reasons we humans in general and we Christians included have such a hard time dealing with the tragedies of our lives is that we feel like God owes us something.
I reread something recently and did a double take to see if someone had added a phrase to my Bible. It is found at the end of Hebrews 11, the great faith chapter:
The emphasis on that last phrase is mine, and that is the part I don’t remember ever having seen before. Can you imagine that? “None of them received all that God had promised.” Really? The heroes of the faith didn’t get what God had promised, even after a lifetime of waiting, hoping and praying? They lived their lives in anticipation of a promise and they died anticipating. A full explanation never came. Having a firm faith in God does not guarantee a happy carefree life. To the contrary, our faith almost guarantees us some form of abuse from the world.
I purposely left out the verse immediately following those I just quoted. It says, “For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” (Hebrews 11:40) Again, Dr. Dobson offers some insight:
I suspect that you have heard, as I have, a radio or TV preacher promise that if you have a need, it will be met the moment you ask for help from the Lord. That as you pray God will solve the problem, whatever it might be. That if you have faith, there’s no question that God will solve it for you. I don’t question the motives behind this preaching, just the accuracy.
It is just wrong to tell hurting people, or at least imply that they simply lack the faith to be good as new. Heaven is not here, it’s there. If we were given all that we want in the here and now, our hearts would settle for this world rather than long for the hereafter.
I am also convinced that the advocates of universal health and wealth have a little secret down deep in their souls. I suspect that they too have had the experience of praying for a desperately ill family member or a close friend…as I did for Freddy…then have to attend the funeral. It has happened to every pastor in every denomination. It is just not admitted in the glitz and glamour of the miracle healing service. I think it’s just not quite honest to ignore or intentionally hide those times when God responds, “It’s not my will.” Or especially when God doesn’t respond at all?
Those who give empty clichés to the awesome question of human suffering have not spent much time thinking about it. And they have not spent the time that I have in hospital waiting rooms, ICUs, Children’s Hospitals, Funeral Homes, and cemeteries.
Maybe you have noticed that life seems very unfair. It pampers some of us and devastates others. We can only explore the mind of God so far until we run out of brain power. God has no obligation to explain Himself to me or to ask for my approval. God doesn’t owe me anything, but He has chosen to love me when life deals me its dastardly deeds.