If God Is with Me, Why Did This Happen?

I recently read an article called If God Is with Me, Why Did This Happen? It was written by Vaneetha Rendall Risner. In the article she mentions the many things that have happened to her. Just to name a few, she was a polio survivor and constantly in and out of the hospital, her son died, and her husband left her. And as I write this I have just put her book on hold at the library that is mentioned at the end of the article.

I will discuss the parts of this article that stand out to me.

“If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13).

Gideon asked the question thousands of years ago, and we have been asking it ever since. Haven’t we all asked that question secretly, if not out loud, at some point in suffering?

A lot of times the people in the bible are our heros, but they are just like us. They want to know why God is causing them hard times in their life, just like why we want to know why God causes us to go through hard times.

Why did this Happen?

I wondered why hard things happened when a loving God was supposedly in control. When people told me that God loved me, I thought, If God loves me, then why did this happen to me?

But when I was 16, God in his mercy answered that lifelong question through John 9. His answer was simple and direct: “that the works of God might be displayed” (John 9:3). And with that revelation, my world shifted.

Vaneetha had wondered her whole life why God allowed her to go through hardships, and at 16 God answer her question.

If we go through hardships with our eyes on God and not turning away from Him, the works of God will be displayed in our life for all to see. But if we complain, people will see that as well. If the works of God are displayed for all to see, doesn’t/shouldn’t that change our view on how we walk through life/trials?

One Little Word

I took comfort in the truth that God was with me and could use my suffering to demonstrate his glory, but when new struggles surfaced, sometimes I would return to that familiar question: If the Lord is with me, then why did all this happen?

Those questions must have delighted Satan. Satan turns truth into doubt with that little word: if. Satan’s temptation of Jesus began with the words “If you are the Son of God” (Matthew 4:3).

God is always with us, but when new difficulties come up we can sometimes forget that, and start using that word of “if”. By why do we use that word?

The Lord IS With You

Satan tempts us in the same way. When our prayers seemingly go unanswered, Satan wants us to mistrust God and question his promises. Satan wants us to doubt God’s goodness and demand proof of his love, inciting us to ask, “If God loves me, then why am I suffering?” Or as Gideon asked, “If the Lord is with us, then why has this happened?”

If the Lord is with us? If God loves me? Those statements should never have an “if” before them. God’s presence and love are guaranteed to those in Christ. When Satan tempts us to question God’s character, we must stand firmly on the truth of Scripture.

In Christ we know that God is always with us. Jesus says, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He will never fail us or forsake us.

We use the word “if” because Satan is trying to get us to doubt that God is always with us. There are so many references in Scripture that says that God will never leave us, so even though Satan tries to get us to doubt God, if we know scripture there will be no need to doubt God.

Recieving Trials With Faith

With this new perspective, believing by faith that my trials are given out of love, I can deliberately look for the good that God is bringing from my suffering.

Sometimes the good is hard to see. And the little I do see can feel insignificant in comparison to the pain I’m enduring. It is then that I must remind myself that my afflictions are producing “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). And God has a purpose in each of them.

While we may not learn the specific purpose behind each struggle, we do know that God uses suffering to increase our dependence on him. To deepen our faith and draw us closer to him. To refine our character, to prepare us for ministry, to comfort others with the comfort we’ve received.

The good can be extremely hard to see. And sometimes we may never find the specific reason why God causes us pain, but we just have to continue to trust Him.

God Doesn’t Love Suffering

God doesn’t love your suffering. He loves you. He will walk with you through the darkest valleys and will never ever leave you.

When God brings trials into your life, don’t question his love or turn away. God is doing something breathtaking in you, for you, and through you. Because the Lord is with you, and because the Lord loves you, everything that happens to you is filled with divine purpose. Every trial you endure has passed through God’s loving hands.

Just keep trusting God through it all!

Don’t Waste Your Illness

I recently read a very short book called Don’t Waste Your Cancer By John Piper. John Piper wrote this book the night before his prostate cancer surgery. I decided to call this blog post Don’t Waste Your Illness because I feel this book can relate to anyone who is going through any kind of illness. If you would like to download this book you can click here. Once you click the link, click download and then you click PDF and it will download for free. The book is 15 pages.

One section of this book that stuck out to me was in the preface John Piper said “So not to pray for healing may waste our illness.” I think there is all a point in our lives where we pray for healing. But as we know healing does not always happen. Of course I have prayed for healing, but when I realized God wasn’t going to heal the way I wanted Him to. The kind of healing I wanted was not God’s Will and my prayer changed. But like John Piper said that if we don’t pray for healing God will not get the glory later on when healing happens.

Another part that stuck out to me in this book was Chapter 2. “We waste our illness if we do not believe it is designed for us by God. I have heard many people say when their health has not been the greatest that God will use me/this for His glory. I believe that is a true statement. But since God is going to use you through a difficult time in your life, wouldn’t it be true to say that he designed this illness; just for you. “If God foresees molecular developments becoming an illness, he can stop it, or not. If he does not, he has a purpose. Since he is infinitely wise, it is right to call the purpose a design.” God has designed you just for the illness you are going through and He has designed your illness that you have just for you. If we only believe that we can be used by God but don’t believe that God designed our specific illness for us then we will waste our illness.

“Satan designs to destroy our love for Christ. God designs to deepen our love for Christ.”

The first part of this quote from John Piper’s book is based off of Matthew 13:22, and the second part of this quote is based off of Luke 13:16

Satan tries to destroy some of us by increasing our health and wealth, which can strangle our faith. And he tries to destroy others by multiplying their pain.

When we are diagnosed with an illness God’s goal is to take the anchors that we are holding onto so that we will only rely on Him.

We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but God who raises the dead.

2 Corinthians 1:9

A huge point that stuck out for me was in Chapter 5 which said ” We waste our illness if we refuse to think about death.” This was a big one for me because I had thought about death a lot, but every time I did I felt as if I shouldn’t because, why should I think about death, when no one is dead, every if they were very close to death? I thought about death but up until I read this book I thought it was wrong because I was greatly hoping no one would die, and thankfully no one did. But the truth of the matter is we all are going to die. How can we be okay with death if we don’t ever think about it until someone dies. Psalm 90:12 says “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” To number our days means to think about the days we have left and how few day that we really do have left.

Another point that stuck out to me in this book was in Chapter 9 which said “We waste our illness if we grieve as those who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13 says ” We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as other do who have no hope. Even when someone dies, we grieve and that is okay. There is a temporary loss. But we grieve as people who have hope!

“Don’t just think of battling against your illness. Also think of battling with your illness.”

When you get diagnosed with an illness the kind of heart God wants to create in you is “a deeply affectionate caring heart for people.”

*Since I feel this book can relate to any kind of illness I have replaced the word cancer with illness.

*If quotations do not have a name attached to them, it is from the John Piper’s book.

Even If We Have Nothing

This past week I read an article called Blessed Even in the Worst, How to Give Thanks in Every Circumstance.  It started by asking what do we mean when we say that we are blessed? Is it being thankful for the things we have, good health, and the people in our life. The article then asked is this what it truly means to be blessed? Many people think that being blessed comes from having lots of money, or getting to travel a lot, but as I thought about these things, if your job was taken away, or you or a loved one got sick, or you couldn’t travel anymore, etc… would you still be able to say that you are a blessed person?

We can say we are blessed because we have God in our lives. If everything was taken away from us, (family, friends, money, health) all we would be left with is God. God keeps us safe, and gives us His grace. Happiness, and prosperity are things that God wants for all of us.  3 John 1:2 says “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health just as your soul prospers.” God is the source of us being able to say that we are blessed.

God is not only the source of being blessed, but He is also the substance of being blessed. This doesn’t mean that you can consider yourself blessed because you have God and that you will be blessed with more material things. Experiencing being blessed by God is when you experience that you are becoming closer and closer to Him. To consider yourself blessed is to be sure of the fact that God will never leave you. Something to remember is that we can ask God to bless us, but we will only be blessed by God if it is in His Will. 1 John 5:14-15 says “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His Will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.”

If we truly believe that we are blessed because we have God, we can’t only say that we are blessed during the good times of our lives. What it truly means to say that we are blessed is to truthfully say that we are blessed during some of the worst times in our lives. During the hard times in your life you can say you are blessed because you feel God’s presence in your life and that you can feel the closeness and comfort of God around you.

We can shout it for the world to hear, post it for the social media world to read, and nail it to every wall in our home: we are truly, deeply, eternally blessed in Christ.