If God is almighty and such a loving God, why does He allow such evil to continue in the world? Why doesn’t God just destroy all the wicked evil people? Why does God let good people suffer, especially His own people? If sickness is part of the curse and God’s people have been freed from the curse, why do some get terminally sick? Why does God heal some people and not others? Why is it that sometimes when we pray for healing with all the faith we have, God still doesn’t heal the person? I thought God honors the prayer of faith?
Ever heard people ask these questions? Perhaps someone has asked you. Perhaps you have asked these or other equally difficult questions. I do not make light of them. They are usually questions asked from a hurting and sincere heart. I’ve many times myself wondered what are the answers to such questions.
I am no theologian, nor do I know any theologians. I have several versions of the Bible, a couple concordances (one for NIV and the other for KJV Bibles), I have a good solid foundation of good biblical teaching, and I have the Holy Spirit who was promised to “reveal all things” to us. That’s it. So sometimes, when pondering such difficult questions as those above, I can easily feel like I’m floundering in water too deep for me…I don’t swim. However, the other day, in my morning devotions, I came across a well-known verse to me and I saw it in a slightly different light. Here’s how it went.
The verse was from Romans 8:18-24a, which says
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. (NIV)
I have been using a devotional called Mornings with Tozer, with excerpts from A. W. Tozer’s sermons, condensed into daily devotions. In one particular segment I was reading, Tozer was talking about the “universal blight which is upon mankind” and how much we need to depend upon the Holy Spirit. As I pondered this universal blight, I realized that it is the consequences of this blight that prompts all those difficult questions above, and more – the wars and predations of evil people, sickness and death, bad things happening to good people, not to mention the pollution of the earth and its exploitation by wicked, greedy or simply ignorant human beings. Yes, even the earth suffers because of mankind’s treason way back in the garden of Eden!
I have to admit I often get irritated when people ask, “Why doesn’t God do something about all the mess this world is in?” and then proceed to conclude there must not be a God after all. Hey, wait a minute…why are people laying the blame at His feet? We are the ones who brought all this mess upon ourselves by disobeying and engaging in high treason in the first place! We are simply reaping the consequences of our own bad decisions. We are suffering for our own sins. As to why God doesn’t do something…He did! He did the ultimate by giving His own son to pay for our sins and make the only way to be reconciled back to Him. If people ask why doesn’t God just wipe out all the evil people from the earth, I’m afraid He would have to wipe us all out completely. Yes, because we are all guilty, we all share in the high treason sentence. There is no human being who has never sinned. It is out of His mercy that He delays…waiting for as many as will, to receive His wonderful gift of reconciliation and life.
The issues I have had more difficulty with is why believers are sometimes not healed. Why do we still suffer the consequences of the curse, if indeed we are freed from the curse by Jesus. It dawned on me as I was reminded of another part of scripture which says “…Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13b-14, NIV) It was like a light bulb went on in my head. Aha! Yes, of course.
Ukarimu Ministries is a registered Trust, so I’ve been trying to learn what trusts are all about and how they work. Often a trust is set up for a child. In that trust, the trustees handle and protect the assets which will eventually go to that child when he or she is grown up and/or certain conditions are met. Sometimes, the trustee may release portions of that child’s inheritance to the child in times of need, a pledge or deposit so to speak, a taste of what’s to come, but the full inheritance is not realized until all conditions are met (usually, the child becoming an adult).
In many places in scriptures, we who believe in Jesus are called children of God. Jesus had come to set up a trust for us, who would be children of God. All His assets would one day be ours. Just before leaving, Jesus promised a deposit for us to use while we’re here on earth…the Holy Spirit…a taste of the full inheritance to come. This is what was referred to both in the Ephesians and Romans quotes above (called firstfruits in Romans). Jesus knew that we needed hope in this world, in this life – hope that we would indeed come into our full inheritance, hope that this life is not all there is. So, He gave us the deposit of the Holy Spirit, who gives us glimpses of our inheritance in Christ. But this is not the full inheritance. That is still to come!
That is why we still get sick, even though we are promised no more sickness. This is why even when we pray fervently and with all the faith we can muster, some believers still die of illnesses, or accidents, or whatever strikes us. Remember, we are still living in a fallen world, which has been subjected to frustration and decay, waiting for God’s children to enter into their full inheritance.
So, we have an amazing inheritance to look forward to…one day. At times, we get a glimpse of some of what that inheritance will include, but for now, we wait. We wait until all God’s children are accounted for. We wait until we ‘come of age’. We wait until Jesus comes back to claim His own. Then there will be no more sickness, no more pain, no more evil, no more death. For now, we depend upon the Holy Spirit, who is the deposit of our full redemption.