Q: If God knows our tomorrow and He loves us, why does He allow bad things to happen to His people? How can we see His love through that?
A: Andrea, The answer to your question is in your question. It has been said, we don’t know the future, but we know the one who holds the future. It is difficult for us to know why God allows bad things to happen to His people, but we find rest in knowing that God has a purpose for all of it because He does love us. Romans 8:28 says, “All things work together for good for those who love God and are the called according to his purpose.” This knowledge alone helps us to believe that God has a loving purpose for what I am going through.
Being a Christian is far from living an easy life. A good reading of the book of Job shows us that we have an enemy that desires to kill, steal, and destroy, as we see Satan himself taking everything from Job; his family, his wealth, and even his health. Job was the most righteous God fearing man on the face of the earth at the time. Though he didn’t ask Job’s permission, God allowed all of this for a very important reason, to prove to Satan, and the reader, that men will love God even if every blessing is taken from them. Job would say, “Though he slay me, still will I trust Him.” Job 13:15 and “ For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:25-27
Job had an enduring faith in God and His grace. He understood that he was in need of a redeemer and that his trust in God for this redeemer gave him salvation. He couldn’t think of anything he had done to deserve what was happening to him, but his trust in God was unwavering.
The Apostle Paul is another example of enduring faith. He, contrary to Job, did not see himself as undeserving of his trials. He freely admitted that he was the least of all the Apostles sighting the fact that he had persecuted the Church before being saved. Yet even though he knew he was unworthy of God’s mercy, he also leaned on grace and God's love for us, telling us that all things work together for good.
Not only does God have a purpose for our suffering, but He also knows that it is very temporary. Paul wrote, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Paul didn’t have an easy life. He lists the trials that he suffered in 2 Corinthians 11:26-28 and I confess I don’t know anyone personally who has been through that much suffering. Yet what does Paul call it? “This light affliction!” Amazing!
I believe that God doesn’t allow anything into our lives that he doesn’t prescribe, if we are His child. Often adversity is where we discover grace. We learn through poverty that God is our provider, we learn through loss that God is our comforter, we learn through struggles that God is our strength, we learn through fear that God is our refuge, we learn through anxiety that God is our peace. Often the Christian life is coming to terms with the fact that God is in control and I am not. And yet, as a loving Father He supplies all of my needs through His riches in Christ Jesus. It is the adversity that drives me to His arms, just as a clap of thunder drives a child into her father’s arms.
In the end we have to believe that God loves us and that He has everything under control. We may not feel it, we may not like it, we definitely don’t see it, but we must believe it.
Thanks for your question. I hope this helps.
Blessings, Pastor Mike