Last month, we considered reasons why God may not answer prayers the way we wish. Some Christians become angry at God when His actions do not meet their expectations. Reasons 1-4 below are possible events that may make us angry. Reason 5 is quite different from the first four and follows later in this article:
Why Hasn't God Acted
1. God allowed my child or my loved one to suffer and die.
2. God allowed my child to be born with a birth defect.
3. God did not protect me / my child / my spouse / a loved one from disaster or accident.
4. I trusted God and He let me down.
Their anger may be due to a belief system that goes something like: “God is all powerful. I have tried to live right and please Him. I have prayed and prayed and He has done nothing. God let me down and I am bitterly disappointed with Him.” Please understand, God would have answered your prayers if He could, but He cannot! The reason is a bit complicated, but important to understand. Even though God is all powerful and a God of love, the curse of sin limits what God can do. Long before Adam and Eve sinned, God predetermined He would allow sin’s curse, as painful and deadly as it would be, to run its course for 6,000 years. When Adam and Eve sinned, God became bound by His plan. Therefore, He cannot cancel, override or alleviate the sorrow, sickness, pain, and death that comes from the curse of sin until the time He has established arrives. (Acts 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:26) God, according to His infinite wisdom, is following a plan. When His plan is completed, it will keep the universe free from the curse of sin forever. We can estimate the value and significance of His plan by considering the price He has paid personally. Also consider the amount of sorrow, sickness, pain, and death that sin has created over the past 6,000 years!
Sin’s power is a mystery. (2 Thessalonians 2:7) When God separated Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22), He also separated them from the divine power required to sustain life. This separation allows random chaos, mutation, and death at the cellular level! This is how everything and everyone dies. The curse of sin passed to Adam’s offspring. His first born son became a murderer. Of course, there are self-inflicted consequences for wrong doing, but the curse of sin is different. It injects random defects into the reproductive process (damaged genes and chromosomes), spreads diseases of all kinds, and it somehow kills the righteous as well as the wicked! Sin’s curse temporarily imposes limits on what God can do because He cannot override, cancel, or alleviate the curse of sin just yet.
One limitation God has is that a God of love cannot and does not show favoritism. (Acts 10:34) Jesus said the Father sends the rain on the righteous and unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45) A father is not loving and fair if he exclusively favors two of his five children. God loves everyone equally, and Jesus would have died for any one of us. Given that God’s love is impartial, consider the following questions: Why should God save my child or loved one when He has not done this for the rest of humanity? Why should my child be born without defect when God has not prevented defects in other children? Why should God protect me / my child / my spouse or a loved one from disaster when He has not done this for others? Am I angry at God because He treated me as He treats everyone else?
God knows that the death of a child or a loved one can be more crushing and painful than words can describe. He also knows that when a person is broken with unbearable heartache and grief, that person may be angry because the sinful nature is spring-loaded for retaliation. One child hits another and the victim naturally hits back! God understands our sinful nature, but no one properly understands God’s love. For thousands of years, the Father has felt and experienced greater pain than human beings can comprehend. He observed the world’s violence and wickedness in Noah’s day and it made Him sick. (Genesis 6:5,6) The Father could barely watch as His chosen people practically beat His “beloved Son” to death and then crucified Him to the cross. Additionally, the Father has witnessed every injustice, all the sexual abuse, and every crime committed on Earth. He has felt every pain that victims suffer. God is not removed from our suffering; He hurts deeply because of it.
God has given people freedom and we are accountable to Him. God allows people to commit murder, cheat the elderly out of their life savings, sexually abuse children, and commit adultery. God allows predators to prey on the weak and wicked cities to flourish. However, everyone will have to face God and give an account for their actions! (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:37) Now, consider the liberty that God has given to the curse of sin: There are random birth defects, famines, plagues, earthquakes, fires, floods, wars, and catastrophes of all kinds. An infinitely wise God permits these events because He is following a comprehensive plan that will secure the universe eternally from defiant sinners and the curse of sin. To achieve this goal, God must allow the consequences of sin to mature. After God destroys sin and sinners, He can justifiably and righteously terminate any future sinner on the day he sins. Everyone will be sad for the sinner who deliberately chose to sin, but delighted with God’s response. After God eliminates sin from the universe, His created beings will perfectly understand why God terminated sin’s curse before it could infect anyone else.
Today, while sin’s curse is ravaging Earth, God is willing to give each sinner a marvelous gift of “sufficient grace.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) This gift enables people to overcome the world, including every painful challenge that sin creates, just as Jesus did. (John 16:33; 1 John 5:4) Among Christians, the word grace, like the word faith, has many different meanings. The most common definition of grace is unmerited favor, mercy, and forgiveness. However, the word grace also means an infusion of divine power and uncommon strength. (Romans 1:16) If you want to see God in action, ask Him hour-by-hour, if need be, for grace to overcome a very difficult situation and He will give it! (John 16:24)
People who are angry at God because of sin’s curse must understand that God has not let them down. Instead, their theology has let them down. God allows people to believe whatever they want, but this freedom does not mean that whatever we believe is true. If a person is willing to understand that God is executing a wonderful plan and does not show favoritism, and if the person is also willing to receive grace (divine power) to overcome his pain, the Holy Spirit will deliver a peace that passes understanding! (2 Corinthians 1:3-6) Each person can rise above the pit of anger. We can be happy and joyful again through God’s amazing grace. (2 Corinthians 5:17; 9:8) He will remove the heartache and bitterness. (Titus 2:11-14) We can rise above the waves of despair and “walk on top of the water” just as Peter did (Matthew 14:29) if we will reach out in faith and take hold of the Savior’s hand. (John 14:16-18; 1 John 3:1) He will lift you up! (Psalm 40:1-3) This is how God helps us to deal with the awful curse of sin. So, claim His promise and receive the blessing!
Why Did God Make Me the Way I Am?
5. I hate the body that God gave me.
This topic is complicated for Christians. A Christian may self-loath characteristics like skin color, physical build, size, hair, height, or weight. Another more complicated attribute might be an individual who hates being male/female or pretending to be heterosexual. I cannot address the many issues associated with this class of anger in this short article; however, I hope the following thoughts will be helpful for those who have self-loathing issues.
Medical science has discovered that genetics defines our bodies and sharply influences our health. For example, “The average woman in the United States has about a 1 in 8, or about a 12% risk of developing breast cancer. Women who have an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene (or both) can have up to an 80% risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetimes.”1 Scientists have also known for years that genetic disorders are precursors for disease and/or birth defects. For example, “Down syndrome can be caused by one of three types of abnormal cell division involving chromosome 21. . . Fifteen to thirty percent of women with trisomy 21 [the abnormal cell division involving chromosome 21] are fertile and they have about a 50% risk of having a child with Down syndrome.”2
There is an ongoing debate about genetic influence on human sexuality. A study conducted in 2015 by UCLA molecular biologist Tuck C. Ngun looked at the genetic structures of forty-seven pairs of identical male twins. Thirty-seven pairs consisted of one homosexual and one heterosexual and ten pairs consisted of homosexual brothers. Dr. J. Michael Bailey, a Northwestern University psychologist speaking on the results of the study said, “Our best guess is that there are genes that affect a man’s sexual orientation, . .but the existence of identical twin pairs in which only one is homosexual conclusively suggest that genes don’t explain everything.”3 “In 2015, the number of people in the United States identifying as gay is about 3.8% of the population”4 and “The number of people who identify as transgender [in 2015] amounts to about 1.4 million people or .6% of the adult population in the United States.”5
Whether a person is born with a predisposition for homosexual attraction or a need for transgender recognition is not a concern. God knows. Each person has a sinful nature because we are conceived within the curse of sin. (Romans 3:23) We can be 100% sure that Jesus will deal fairly and appropriately with each human being when the time for judgment comes. (John 5:22,23, Acts 17:31, 2 Corinthians 5:10) God foreknew the existence of sexual misconduct long before Jesus created Adam and Eve, and He explicitly defined sexual misconduct so there could be no confusion about it. (Leviticus 18:26; 1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Revelation 22:14,15)
If a person has a predisposition for a homosexual attraction, he can only live a life pleasing to God if he refrains from sexual misconduct. Incidentally, God also requires the same behavior from heterosexuals. Because God is willing to impart “sufficient grace” to us, it is possible for a homosexual to live a purpose-filled life while remaining celibate. I know this position sounds devastating in a world that glorifies sexual misconduct, but it is not. God’s sustaining grace makes living a celibate life not to be the huge problem that defiant people make it out to be. Jesus said, “If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” (Matthew 18:8,9)
God will give those who ask grace and strength to live an honorable life. Living life to the fullest with happiness and joy is possible even when celibacy is required. Paul testified to God’s sustaining grace when he wrote, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:3) “I wish that all men were [happily single] as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” (1 Corinthians 7:7, insertion mine) If you have self-loathing because of your body, ask God for grace to deal with the issue. Tell Him that you want a new attitude and new experience. Admit to yourself that God created you for a specific purpose. (Jeremiah 1:5) Admit that His purpose for you will be fulfilled if you are willing to honor Him by doing what is right and obeying the Holy Spirit’s voice. (Romans 8:14) If we choose to walk with God in righteousness and truth, God will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5,6) and answer our prayers! “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
I have met many wonderful, celibate Christians during my past 45 years of ministry. Some were young and some were old. Some were intentionally celibate and others were celibate because of the death of a spouse (widows and widowers). These people stand out because they were living a happy and fulfilled life! They had surrendered to God’s will and God had led them into a place or situation that was not utopia, but was perfect for them. It gets no better than this on Earth. Instead of wanting to be someone else, or live in another body, focus on God’s offer of sustaining grace right where you are. With it comes the possibility of reaching the purpose for which God created you. So, let go and let God! This world and all of its passions will soon pass away. If we allow our Creator to fulfill the purpose for which He gave us life, He will bless us with the same sense of purpose, happiness, and joy that the angels enjoy! This is what Heaven will be like.
1 Source: breastcancer.org
2 Source: americanpregnancy.org
3 Source: LA Times
4 Source: Gallup Poll
5 Source: NY Times