Recently our Speaker Neil Vimalkumar answered questions for tweens and teens at his Church’s Vacation Bible School. Catch up on these responses in a series #dyk? 

Teens, hit us up with your questions on faith, life and anything in between. We’ll get back to you ASAP.

Question

Hi,

I feel these trying times are preventing me from having the desired relationship with God. The death of so many people I know makes me want to question ‘WHY?’  ‘Why those good-hearted souls with children and family instead of corrupt people? I am tempted to doubt God’s plan here. I know that it is wrong. 

  1. How can I work on my lost faith during these times?
  2. How can I trust God?
  3. How to sail through grief?
  4. Are there any references in the Bible or worship songs I could turn to? 
  5. Why is pain inflicted on Christians?
  6. How can we set up a path to help others if we are suffering? 

I apologize for bombarding you with questions! Quite desperate here. 

Answer

Hi,

Thanks for your honest questions. 

You are not the first one or the last one to ask the question ‘Why?’ with regard to God’s plans and purposes. Most of the prophets and the Psalmist had many complaints and cries to make to God. They expressed their disappointment to God quite openly…. 

 

Here are a few examples: 

Micah 7:1 – “Woe is me!…”

Psalm 22:1 – “My God, why have You abandoned me?”

Habakkuk 2:1 – I will wait to see how the Lord answers my complaint

Amos 7: 5 – Sovereign Lord, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”

Jeremiah 12: 1 – “Lord, if I argued my case with you, you would prove to be right.
            Yet I must question you about matters of justice. Why are the wicked so prosperous?
Why do dishonest people succeed?

Job 7: 20 – “Why have you made me your target?”

Jonah 4: 9 – “…Yes, angry enough to die”.

 

3 things to keep in mind in this regard: 

 (i) First, they were honest in their expressions. They did not just borrow a popular a cool ‘woke’ thing to say. The God of the Bible expects honesty in the inward being. So, allow God to search your heart and help you understand yourself as you grapple with the sorrow around.

(ii) Well, they did not just cry out to empty space – like a swear word. They addressed their concerns to God. 

            Joseph Scriven in that well-known hymn captures this point: 

            “Oh, what needless pain we bear, 

            All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer”.  

(iii) God grants space to His followers to raise questions or make complaints. But this then raises the question – do we know God personally? If we do not have a live relationship with Him, how can we even ask Him a question? 

We live in a fallen world and everyone, Christians and others go through crises. God does not promise a comfortable and problem-free world for His believers. However, He promises to be with us even in the midst of trials, and amazingly brings something beautiful even out of ashes. 

Can you imagine, our Lord Himself had this question as he underwent excruciating pain and humiliation – “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 

But here is the point – A Sovereign God could use even devious plans, suffering and agony for His good purposes. So, Jesus was the Boss when He called out Lazarus from the grave and He was equally the Boss when He was in a vulnerable position on the cross. 

Follow this – 

            Pilate, the Roman Governor was unsettled, 

            The religious leaders were nervous even after they had Him crucified, 

            The betrayer Judas found life unlivable, 

            The Roman centurion was in awe of the Son of God. 

While the Devil must have thought his work was accomplished when He had Jesus on the cross, ironically, it was the seeming victim who proclaimed the victory cry: “IT IS FINISHED”. 

Yes, Suffering is bad and clearly, some go through more agony and pain as you have pointed out – but there is an end to it all – God promises a New heaven and a New earth, where there will be no more suffering. In the meanwhile, we may live with unanswered questions, but God can and does bring something beautiful out of sorrow. 

Talking about singing through suffering – I recently listened to Wintley Phipps on YouTube sing – “It is well with my soul”. The song originally was written by a man who lost his family in the sea – you could check out that story behind the song. Phipps makes a powerful statement before singing. I hope that blesses your heart – “It is in the quiet crucible of life’s personal suffering, that God’s grandest dreams are born.” Two other names come to my mind right away (as you asked about songs) – Fanny Crosby gave us about 6000 hymns, but she was blind from a tender age because of a medical accident. Annie Johnson Flint was orphaned twice and her arthritis worsened and paralysed her and she gave us some of the best songs. When you find time, please do read up more about these people. 

In the meanwhile, May His peace and presence be with you as you grapple with the grave issues around us. 

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About

Neil Vimalkumar Boniface

Coming to a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ during his college years, Neil Vimalkumar Boniface, Speaker & Ministry Director, developed an interest to share and engage with others on the reasonableness of the Christian faith. This pursuit has taken him to many places and innumerable campuses over the last 20 years. He thrives on the interaction time during his sessions which he finds mutually enriching. Apart from his engineering degree, he also holds a Master of Arts (Honours) in Theology from SAIACS, Bengaluru and another Masters in Science and Religion from the University of Edinburgh. He is currently pursuing a part-time PhD in Christian Studies. He believes education needs to be wholistic and transformative.

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