When bad things happen, does God still care?
It was a long summer evening in Pennsylvania. Twilight lingered, the crickets chirped and fireflies were beginning their nightly dance. It was a peaceful moment, until the door slammed. My friend had just entered my car and shattered the tranquility with a blast. All was not well with her. She was furious and she blamed God. Why had God given her the parents she had, why had God made her life so difficult, why had God not given her what she wanted, Why was God so unfair??? On and on the questions went. How could a loving God let bad things happen to her? Why didn’t he make all her dreams come true? He promised to take care of her, so why wasn’t he? All I could do was assure her that God loved her and encourage her to take some responsibility for her own actions, but I’m not sure how much she was listening.
She wasn’t the first person to enter my car or my life angry at God. I myself have been angry at God for not answering my prayers the way I want. I have even known of Christians who have turned away from God because they don’t like how their life is going. But I have learned that just because life is hard and we don’t get what we want doesn’t mean that God isn’t there for us. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love us. Trusting God to take care of me does not mean that bad things won’t happen to me. What it does mean is that God sees and cares about what is happening to me. He will be with me through every moment of hard times. If I ask, he will give me wisdom on what to do. If I obey him, I will come out ok. If I tell him what I am going through, he will give me a peace that is beyond understanding. This is how God takes care of us, not by keeping anything bad from ever happening to us.
Let’s look at some of the verses in the Bible that promise God’s care for us.
1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” This verse clearly tells us that God cares about us. It asks us to share the things that are troubling us with him. What some people miss is the implication that we will have troubles to share with him.
Philippians 4: 6 & 7 –“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Here we learn not to worry about our difficult times. We can pray about anything and everything. The promise isn’t that God will take away our problems, but that he will give us a peace about them. We should even be thankful for them, maybe because they give us the opportunity to experience that amazing peace that can only come from God.
Matthew 6:25 - 27 – “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? There have been times in my life when I didn’t know where my next meal was going to come from, and there have been times when my wardrobe was way too slim. But in each instance God has provided. An invitation for dinner when I have nothing to eat, an unexpected check in the mail for the exact amount of a need, clothes from a friend when I lost weight and nothing fit, over and over again God has provided for the true needs in my life. It can be hard to trust him when it seems hopeless, and sometimes I have had to reevaluate what a true need is, but I promise you, God has always come through. I am learning not to worry.
Isaiah 41:13 – “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear: I will help you.” I absolutely love the imagery in this one. God promises to help us. Again, this implies that there will be things that we need help with!
I could go on and on but I think you get the idea. So when you feel like God is not there because life is hard or you don’t get what you want, think about your expectations. Perhaps you are looking for him in the wrong way.