Christians love, love, love the passages in Scripture that promise God’s blessings on a believing life. We love to pray that God will take our problems away and expect that those prayers will be answered with a Yes. We love the assurance of angelic protection, material prosperity, security, and good health. Indeed, sometimes it furthers God’s agenda to send us treats.
But not always. Sometimes he allows us to suffer setbacks and defeats, to taste pain and sadness, to lose rather than gain financially. What?! Isn’t God all-powerful? Aren’t we his dear children, the apple of his divine eye? Why are there so many psalms like this one: “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:2,3). Aren’t our lives supposed to be getting easier? Here’s the lie: that the hardships in your life prove that there’s something really wrong with you, or worse—that there’s something really wrong with God.
The truth is that we live in a permanently broken world. In spite of all the romantic dreams of social planners and their optimistic utopian communities, we have to make do in a world still groaning under the curse of human sin. No one escapes its consequences. Illness, crime, injury, and war afflict believers as well as unbelievers.
Here’s the difference: God sets limits to the sufferings his children must endure, and he makes all things work out for their good in the end.