I’m turning over the blog today into the trustworthy hands of my husband. He has agreed to tackle this recent anonymous comment left on yesterday’s post. It’s a comment I appreciate for it’s candor and sincerity, but one I wasn’t 100% sure how to answer:
“… something has been nagging at me lately. I respect that you feel strongly that God shows you the way and that He provides, but I’m interested in what you have to say about this:
There’s a family somewhere in the world that is good and righteous. They believe Jesus is their savior and they pray as often as they can. They believe that God provides for them yet they are starving. Their children can barely move because they cannot find adequate nutrition. There is no money for medicine when they are sick, in fact one child already died due to a very treatable illness. Why is God not providing for these people?”
Without further ado, my husband’s reply…
Let’s dissect the question:
There is a family somewhere in the world that is good…
Romans 7:18 (NIV) — I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature..
Isaiah 64:6 (NIV) — All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
They believe that Jesus is their savior and they pray as often as they can.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 — Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I believe that by praying we communicate with God. It is not a one way street as is assumed here where the people are presumed to be praying for something that God is not providing. Perhaps they have prayed that God would end their time on earth so they could be with Him. Maybe he has told them they are vessels on this earth to help bring about the return of his Son.
They believe that God provides for them yet they are starving.
Deuteronomy 8:3 — He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.
Matthew 4:4 — Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
If they are good and righteous according to the original claim, then they are understanding of the hunger. As I have said before, we know not the way that God intervenes for those who we believe are suffering nor do we know how He relieves their suffering while in the throes of man’s definition of suffering. God may view a typical American material possession-filled life as a tragedy and see us as the true sufferers.
Their children can barely move because they cannot find adequate nutrition.
Heartbreaking. But God did call for us to GO and make disciples of all nations. Who then seeing this kind of suffering while out on their God appointed rounds would then not help. Instead of this being about God not providing, I think this is about us not following Jesus’ commands that we “Love the Lord our God with all our hearts and the second love your neighbor as yourself.” If Christians were truly out making disciples and following the dictates of the two great commandments, then suffering would ultimately be reduced. However, when we sit comfortably in an overstuffed chair at St@rbucks and complain that the coffee we ordered had a pinch of cinnamon and we wanted a smidge then we have chosen to let opportunities to reduce suffering in the world pass us by. What greater demonstration of God’s love today exists than the person who gives up everything material and gains everything eternal by helping others and reducing their suffering while also introducing them to Christ.
There is no money for medicine when they are sick, in fact one child died already due to a very treatable illness.
They have no money but they have something greater FAITH. Faith that God will heal or provide and that if He does not, that their child is with Him today in Heaven with no further suffering. The assumption here is that life on earth is the ultimate and that when you die you lost something rather than it is temporary and the end of life is actually the beginning of the real gift. Again, the person asking the question must ask what is their assumption about life and why they do not get off the couch and go on a mission trip or donate so that the medicine is available. Also, God gave us a choice. Everyone hates to see that their choices have costs. The preference is to believe that I can overextend myself for — that insert big ticket luxury item (BTI) that is required to have a fulfilled American life or insert big yearly vacation to ?? — because it hurts no one and gives me pleasure. Well, reduce or don’t buy that BTI or vacation (mission trip instead maybe) and help save a life by donating money to send “Doctors Without Borders” or medicines to the area where this family lives.
Why is God not providing for these people?
Jesus, God’s one and only Son died on the cross. The most horrible way to die and He committed no sin. We sin every single day and sometimes moment to moment and then dare to question God as to why others have to suffer. He killed his own Son so that we could be free of sin and yet when we see something that we do not understand under the guise of “fair” we question the very Being that created us. We do not know the grand plan and if we did, our brains would explode with the possibilities. Sometimes we must accept and live by Faith. All things God does work toward the ultimate Victory of His Son over this world and the eventual return.
God has provided for them – He gave them His most precious gift – His LOVE. American “rich” Christianity may think that He is not providing according to the ways of our limited American view of the world. But He is.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 — That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.