Above: Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains pray with a man who lost his home in the Maui, Hawaii, wildfires.
Late last year, a legendary women’s soccer player, in the final game of her storied career, suffered a major Achilles injury. It wasn’t necessarily the injury that made news, however. After all, injuries happen often, especially in the world of sports—and even more so for professional athletes approaching 40 years of age.
No, what made headlines was the expletive-filled rant she unleashed after the injury, during which she stated, “I’m not a religious person or anything, and if there was a God, like, this is proof that there isn’t.”
In short, the soccer player said that God’s existence is dependent upon her health and success. Sadly, this human-focused, secular way of thinking is common. We live in a broken world, with tragedy all around us. On a large scale, we see wars, natural disasters and mass shootings. Closer to home, many are dealing with divorce, lost jobs, financial struggles, debilitating or life-threatening health problems, or some other heartbreaking trial.
Such things lead many to ask where God is in these situations, and how He could let such things happen. Some, like the athlete I mentioned above, use the brokenness in the world as “proof” that there is no God.
As Christians, however, we have a different view—one that is rooted in God’s Word. Though I don’t have all the answers, there are a few things I do know because they’re promised to us in the Bible.
You will suffer and experience sorrow. We all want to live a painless life, free from strife, stress and struggle. That is not reality, however. Since the days of Adam, human existence has been one of disease and conflict. We don’t get a free pass as followers of Christ. In fact, Jesus told us in John 16:33 that the opposite is true: “In the world you will have tribulation.”
Further, short of Christ’s return, death is also guaranteed. Hebrews 9:27 states, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” If suffering and death were proof that God doesn’t exist, belief in Him would have been obsolete millennia ago, but God Himself, in His Word, tells us to expect such things.
Christ has overcome the world. As we walk through the challenges and struggles of life, it can sometimes feel like our situations are out of control. That is not the case, however. We can take solace in knowing that God sees and understands our struggles.
A moment ago, I shared one portion of John 16:33, but there’s more to that verse: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Yes, there will be hard times—it’s guaranteed—but there’s also a promise: Christ has overcome the world, and He is in control. Because of that, we can have peace, even in the midst of sorrow and suffering.
God will use your trial for good. As we put our faith in Jesus, God promises to take our suffering and redeem it for a positive outcome. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
You may be going through something that is incredibly difficult and painful. However, we can find peace knowing that—as improbable as it may feel in the chaos and grief of the moment—God has a plan. You may not get to see the answer this side of Heaven, but He is working through you and your situation.
God is with you. God is not abandoning you in the midst of your darkest hour. Rather, He is walking alongside you and seeks to comfort you in your suffering. Further, God promises that a glorious existence in Heaven waits on the other side of the painful realities of this world.
Those who put their faith and hope in Jesus will experience what is described in Revelation 21:4: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Jesus Himself said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). What an amazing promise!
My friends, God’s existence, mercy and goodness are not dependent upon our situations or sorrows. Those things are a part of life. Each of us will experience pain and death.
In the end, the important thing isn’t when you stand before God, but where you stand with God. If you’ve placed your faith in Jesus, cling to Him. Cry out to Him, and find comfort in His peace that passes all understanding (see Philippians 4:6-7). If you haven’t placed your faith in Jesus, please don’t put it off any longer. He’s the hope you’re searching for, and the only true and lasting remedy in this broken world. ©2024 BGEA
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.
Photo: Wayne Hancock / ©2023 BGEA