Is God fair? Can He be trusted? Are you disappointed with God? Does He make sense?
Questioning God is marketable. A number of books have become best selling titles by questioning God.
One book, Disappointment With God, ironically offered a 100% money back guarentee for those disappointed with the book! Gratefully, many of the books using these titles (the above mentioned included) help people better understand God.
But the marketing power of such titles is revealing.
It’s nothing new, of course, for people who believe in God to question Him. Many examples can be found in the Bible. God invites people to look to Him for wisdom, grace and peace when faced with trials (James 1:5; Heb. 4:16; Phil. 4:6-7). We are specifically instructed to “cast our care on Him,” because “he cares for us” (I Pe. 5:7).
God’s distinguished servant Job asked God a series of questions and received a pointed question back from God: ”Who is this who darkens my counsel with words without knowledge.” Later, God asked, ”Will the fault finder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it” (Job 42:1-2).
These words remind me of the Apostle’s response to God’s sovereign election. “What shall we say? Is God unjust?” ”Not at all!” Then, quoting the words of God to Moses, he wrote, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy …” (Rom. 9:14-15). A little later, he questioned, “Who are you to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?
Are we qualified to call God before our judgment seat and demand an answer from Him? Not at all! There is a fine line between seeking God’s wisdom and assigning blame to Him – a line we as mere creatures do well to respect.
In our confusion about suffering, it’s helpful to understand that Scripture teaches us to allow for a world God prescribed (the goodness and innocence of Eden); one He permitted (the violence and rebellion of Cain) and a world He will providentially make new (the new heavens and earth).
As a young boy, I learned this lesson through a difficult family trial. When I was twelve years old my father acquired a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis. As the oldest son of eleven children, I was keenly aware of his suffering and the difficulties it brought to our family. “Why God?” I asked. ”My dad’s a good man. He has so much responsibility. He’s just trying to meet our needs! You say you love us and you have the power to heal all diseases, why don’t you answer my prayers and heal him.?”
These were honest questions from a young boy’s heart. Refusing to grow bitter, I struggled on with my questions. As my understanding matured, I learned to marvel at God’s ability to bring good out of suffering and I’ve learned to fix my hope on the grace God has in store for us in a place without suffering.
Trials promote the greatest human need – day by day dependence on the living God (Matt. 4:4; Deut. 8:1-3). Trials deepen our faith and the joy of fellowship with our Creator as the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” (II Corinthians 1:3-4).
Sin, sickness, and death were not part of God’s original plan. These things came as a result of our rebellion against God will be removed forever in God’s new world (Rev. 21:1-5).
Honor God as God, Lord of heaven and earth. Respond to Him with unceasing gratitude for the smallest measures of His goodness, realizing that He is debtor to no one. God owes no man kindness. His mercy is evident in how, “He does not deal with us as our sins deserve” (Psalm 103:10).
Yet the truth of Scripture offers far more hope. In flesh and blood, deity and humanity united in the person of Jesus Christ, bearing the just punishment of our sin on the cross. In a way, this one fact answers all questions, perhaps making them unnecessary.
Short audio message here