Off the top of my head, I could name 15 people that need prayer right in this moment. And that is without consulting this week’s church prayer list. Maybe you can name 20 or 25 people who need prayer for healing, hope, peace, or encouragement. Then you add groups of people suffering from war, natural disasters, hunger, homelessness, unemployment, divorce, and tragedies like this week’s shooting at UCLA.
Our prayer list just quickly grew to the millions.
We pray that God answers every need, but we see on the news that innocent lives are lost daily. Where is God in the midst of such pain and suffering?
In a guest post to Ann Voskamp’s blog, author and Grammy-winning singer Laura Story writes that she wrestled with this question when her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2006.
“When Martin and I walked through his medical trials, we saw a lot of things die. Our vision for our future, dreams for each other, and idea of a perfect family. Sometimes they died all at once. Other times, they slowly withered away.
“When they did, I thought they were gone forever. But what I’ve come to understand is that occasionally God allows a dream to die so that we can see His power greatly displayed.”
God does not always heal us in the way we think we should be healed. Story demonstrates this with the Bible story of Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus (John 11).
Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was ill.
Scripture then says, “When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it’” (John 11:4).
After two days, Jesus went to Judea, but Lazarus was already dead with Jewish mourners present. He went to Lazarus’ tomb and demanded that he come out. Lazarus then walked out of the tomb, for all the crowd to see.
God may not heal your loved ones from their sickness. But, as Jesus said 2,000 years ago, “This sickness will not end in death.”
Story writes, “Jesus doesn’t raise everyone from the dead. But He does raise believers from the dead to spend eternity in heaven with Him and God the Father. And sometimes, like the crowd gathered that day in Bethany, we are surprised when we see Jesus raise things we thought were already dead.”
Jesus is our resurrection. Believers never truly die. And that is why we are called to follow God’s plan, even when nothing He does makes sense to us.
In the Crosswalk.com article “12 Reasons God Might be Calling You to Suffer,” Barb Peil writes, “...when we willingly put our hand in God’s hand and walk with Him into whatever He allows, for whatever reason He has planned, we are walking by faith and not by sight. Then we can believe that eternity will prove God’s wisdom and goodness even though we can’t see it today from our horizontal perspective. This is what it means to embrace God’s sovereignty at the highest and deepest level. When we walk His path, we are preparing our lives for a joy so immense that few ever truly experience it.”
“But [God] knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold” (Job 23:10).
Carrie Dedrick is an editor of Crosswalk.com. When she is not writing or editing, she can usually be found teaching dance classes, running marathons, or reading with at least one adopted dog on her lap.
Publication date: June 3, 2016