If God Can – Why Doesn’t He?

It’s a question that we have all probably asked ourselves at some time. If God is all powerful and can heal the sick, raise the dead, still the storm, and feed the hungry, then Why Doesn’t He?

Some would say that He can’t. Based on the Biblical record we believe He can.

But if He CAN, and yet chooses not to (isn’t that the bottom line?) doesn’t that make Him, at best an uncaring God, and at worst some kind of cosmic killjoy? After all He’s called the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3) but that isn’t always true in our experience.

Here are just a couple of thoughts.

Thought #1.

Jesus didn’t heal everyone, He didn’t raise every dead person, He didn’t calm every storm, He didn’t feed every hungry person. Think about how many sick people He walked past before He healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-8). How many people did Jesus know who had died, yet He only raised three from the dead (Mark 5:22f, Luke 7:11f, John 11:1f). The same is true of the storms on the sea of Galilee and feeding hungry people. He had many opportunities but ignored (in the best sense of that word) most of them.

His miracles were rather select events performed for select purposes, primarily to prove He was the Messiah. Does that mean that He was less caring or compassionate? Not at all. It simply means that there were reasons for what He did (we know some of them) and reasons for what He did not do (we know less about these).

I have to believe that still today, there are reasons that God heals some people and doesn’t heal others. It is something that we have to accept by faith.

Thought #2.

Struggling with trials can produce spiritual fruit in you. If you let it. Qualities like faith, trust, hope, and even thankfulness (it could be worse – a lot worse) can grow out of trials (James 1:2f).

It can also produce unspiritual fruit in you. If you let it. Qualities like anger, doubt, hopelessness, and bitterness can grow up inside of you and destroy the work that God is trying to accomplish in you (Hebrews 12:15).

What your trials produce in you to a great extent depends on how you respond to them.

It might seem counter-intuitive but if God is working through trials for our ultimate good, shouldn’t we be grateful?

Thought #3.

Struggling with trials can produce spiritual fruit in other people.

As people watch you struggle with life it can be a testimony to them of the grace of God – if you respond in the right way. Who knows but that God has burdened you so that your trials become the pathway for someone else’s benefit? That’s hard to accept in a ME culture, but that is sometimes how God works (think Calvary here).

Thought #4.

Struggling with trials can give you an opportunity for ministry.

The Apostle Paul brings this out in 2 Corinthians 1. Sometimes we go through trials in life so that down the road we can help someone else who goes through the same kind of trial.

Admittedly he brings in the fact that God will comfort us in our trials and that then gives us the foundation to comfort others. But what if God doesn’t comfort us (that’s the point of this article)? Can’t we still comfort someone else? Do we always have to have our problems solved before we can minister grace into the life of another person?

Thought #5

God has a purpose. Of course we don’t always know what His purpose is in our personal situations, but there are several general purposes that will always be true. One is that God wants us to depend totally on Him. We were created as dependent beings and we are dependent on God for life, health, safety, provision, and ultimately heaven. Trials accentuate our dependency and help keep us focused.

Another general purpose is that God wants us to Hope completely in Him. Not in our own wisdom or strength, but in Him. Unanswered trials can help us do that.

Yes, we believe that God can. He can heal you, He can still the storms of your life, but in His unsurpassing love and wisdom, working in conjunction with His power not in opposition to it, He doesn’t always choose to do that.

And in faith we believe that it is for our ultimate good. No matter how painful it is at that moment in life.

Stay in the Word,
Pastor Steve

Questions to Ask

In this day of instant social media access, where anyone can express their thoughts and opinions regardless of merit or even truthfulness we are being inundated with questionable information.

A piece of sage advice that has been suggested before you decide to speak or send your post into the stratosphere where it will live forever is: Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

As far as I have been able to determine, the original version of this quote by Bernard Meltzer, a radio personality was: Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.

Either way, the advice is worth following.

Too many times, I have wished that I had run my comments through this filter before I spoke or hit the Post button.

For Christians there are other questions that we need to ask before we express our thoughts and opinions, either verbally or in writing.

1. Is what I am going to say in agreement with the teachings of scripture?

Passages such as Philippians 1:27 come into play here. Only let your conduct (includes social media posts) be worthy of the gospel of Christ. One commentator put it this way: “Believers are to have integrity, i.e. to live consistent with what they believe.” If it doesn’t line up with the Bible, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.

2. Will I be able to share the gospel with that person after I say/write it?

What affect will your statement have on your ability to share Jesus with another person, who may stand on the other side of an issue from you? You can express your opinion, but too many times in the process of expressing our opinions we demean the person we disagree with. Calling people names or using derogatory language runs contrary to Biblical statements such as, Let your speech always be with grace (Colossians 4:6).

3. Will people think that I’m a Christian after they hear or read my words?

Another way to ask this question is: How will it affect my testimony? Words are powerful things – James equates them to a raging forest fire. People rightly judge us by what we say or write and make certain assumptions based on our words and the tone of our words. You can destroy your testimony with one careless, critical, cutting statement, post or tweet.

4. Will what I say advance the Kingdom of God or not?

Life is not about advancing your political position or party. It’s about the Kingdom of God. You might not agree with me here, but God is not a Democrat or Republican. He’s not pro-BLM or anti-BLM. He’s not liberal or conservative. His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). And neither is yours or mine. We belong to a heavenly kingdom and we need to make sure that our words are advancing that Kingdom.

You can be politically involved just remember that His Kingdom is the one that sets the standards for our lives.

The issue is not just about our words – it’s about our words in the context of our faith. If your words or FB Posts are not guided by and reflect a Biblical faith then your faith is not what it should be.

Stay in the Word,
Pastor Steve