Every time something bad happens, a disaster, a death, an illness, or a financial catastrophe, many people either ask “Why would God allow this to happen” or why did God do this”? Why are we struck with a debilitating illness in the prime of life, why does one of our children die young, or why do we lose a job right after we sign a big mortgage? What about facing foreclosure because we haven’t been able to find a job? Why is your spouse stricken with a chronic illness ending in death? When these things happen in succession we search for answers.
When things happen that don’t appear to make sense, or go against what we think is good, we Christians say God did it or allowed it. I’ve heard that very thing more times than you think. We say that God does or allows bad stuff because we don’t understand how a God that we believe loves us, can allow us go through situations that stretch our abilities as human beings to handle or understand.
When it gets to this point we need to be reminded of the promises of God from His Word.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
That means He’s with you in the good times and the bad times.
Hebrews 13:5 NIV Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Psalm 34:19 NIV The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;
That sounds good, however when troubles lingers and even more trouble comes we may start to wonder if anybody hears or really cares. When it gets to that point we need to be reminded that God who made those promises that we read before, really does love us.
1 John 4:7- 11 NIV Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
That says that God really does loves us.
He’s also left us some reminders of that love,
Reminder #1 Creation
The creation itself should remind us of how all powerful God is. It is also evidence that He exists. The very fact that he created the universe and then allowed us to be masters over the earth should remind us that there is somebody out there who is bigger than we are.
Romans 1:20 (NLT)20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
These things about God’s creation remind us of how big God is, His faithfulness, and proof that He loves you.
Reminder #2 The People We Meet
God uses what we may consider chance meetings or encounters to benefit us later. God had plans for you before you were born. There are no mere coincidences. You’ve never met anybody by accident. Like the prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah 1:5 (NLT) “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
Psalms 37:23 NLT The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Think about some relationships that you had when you were in school. Not those where you stayed in close contact but people that you haven’t seen for years or have never seen ever again, maybe a teacher, a coach, or just another classmate. Think about the impact on you and your life of something they said, an introduction to someone else, or an example you follow today.
When you doubt whether God cares about you and loves you think about the people that he has placed in your life over the years. If I just sit and think back about some of the difficult and stressful times I’ll remember somebody doing something, or saying something or giving me something, seemingly out of the blue that helped get me through. That wasn't just a coincidence that was a reminder that God loves me.
Reminder #3: Jesus - The Greatest Reminder
Jesus is the greatest reminder of all of God’s love. When we realize that God gave His Son Jesus so that He could pay the ransom for mankind and take the punishment of sin we know that God loves us. Jesus came and willingly laid down His life for us.
Psalm 34:17-18 NIV The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When you wrestle with anxiety and stress especially in situations where you have no control remember all that He went through for you. Remember the agony in the garden of Gethsemane, the humiliation at His trial, the beatings and finally His crucifixion. It looked as if He had no control over any of this but on the third day He rose from the dead to show that God never lost control. Jesus is the Greatest Reminder that God loves you and He understands what you are going through, because He experienced the same kinds of suffering we experience.
Hebrews 2:14-18 NIV Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
A Savior Who Understands
Dr. Charles Stanley
We do not have a Savior who’s isolated in heaven with no idea what it feels like to have human struggles. No, our Lord left the glories of heaven behind and added humanity to His deity. He temporarily gave up the use of some of His attributes, applying them only as the Father directed Him.
Jesus understands precisely how we feel because He went through the same types of situations we do. Though details of our lives may not match His, the experiences and feelings are alike. Let's look at several examples of how He identifies with us:
Misunderstanding: People constantly misunderstood His claims to be the Son of God.
Rejection: He was unappreciated by the ones He came to love and die for.
Pressure: Crowds surrounded Him, begging for help and demanding His attention.
Exhaustion: He experienced all the weakness of humanity.
Loneliness: At Gethsemane, when He needed human companionship the most, His closest friends fell asleep.
Temptation: Satan hit Him with every imaginable type of attack and temptation.
Hatred: Religious leaders despised Him.
Injustice: Though Jesus lived a sinless life, He died a criminal’s death.
Pain: He suffered the excruciating pain of scourging and crucifixion.
Whatever you’re going through right now, remember that Jesus knows how you feel and sympathizes with your pain and weakness. He may not remove the anguish or change your situation, but He’ll always give you the grace to resist temptation, endure suffering, and grow in spiritual maturity.
Taken from “Our Savior Understands” by In Touch Ministries (used by permission)
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.