What to Do With the Question, “Why God?”

What to Do With the Question, “Why God?”

Man MourningAt some point you will face difficulties that will cause your faith to be challenged. You may or may not question the existence, goodness, or power of God outright. But when you become overwhelmed, there will come a time when you ask some version of the question, “Why, God?”

The cause of your question may be current or long past, a single incident or long-term suffering. It may not seem that devastating to someone looking on from the outside, but it wrenches and tears at you in the deepest places of your soul. It might be:

  • Child abuse – your own, or that of someone you care about
  • Domestic violence
  • Betrayal in your marriage
  • The death of someone you care about
  • A child’s sickness, disability, or serious injury
  • A news report such as the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino, CA

You may ask your WHY in a number of ways: Why didn’t You stop this from happening? Why can’t You bring relief or healing? How could You allow something so evil to happen? How long will this suffering go on? Couldn’t You have fulfilled Your plan some other way?

You know the Bible stories of those who asked some variation of that question.

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When You Pray and are Still Sick

When You Pray and are Still Sick

God is a Healer. That’s His very nature. And yet there are many believers who are still sick. If you’re one of them, you know the internal heart struggle. “He has healed others. Why not me?” “Am I doing something wrong? Should I pray harder?” “It’s my own fault. That’s why I’m not healed.” “Perhaps God really doesn’t still heal today.”

As a physician I’ve seen believers struggle with chronic illness even while they kept on praying. As a wife I continue to pray for my husband’s healing while watching him fight his illness daily. As a minister I’ve prayed for many people who are sick; some of them have been healed, but some of them have not.

One of the strongest impressions I hold in my heart came from an interview I watched some years ago between a middle-aged terminally ill woman and a healing evangelist. I don’t remember the woman’s name, but I know she died a few months later. She told the preacher, “Don’t pray for me to get well. The intimacy I have found with Jesus through my illness is more precious than anything else, and I don’t want to lose that.”

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A New Year’s Prayer

A New Year’s Prayer

New Year's PrayerOver the past couple weeks your inbox has probably been filled with emails promoting goal-setting programs and ways to guarantee “your best year ever” if only you will follow this given plan. At least 100 million Americans make some kind of New Year’s resolutions – and within six weeks most have already failed to keep those resolutions. Those ways of beginning a new year are fine, but I think there’s one way to begin that trumps them all: starting the year with prayer.

The best gift I can offer you this January 1 is my New Years prayer for you:

Heavenly Father, Precious Jesus, Gracious Holy Spirit,

How great You are! You who set our world in its orbit around the sun – that marks our years – we lift our hearts to You as this year begins.

We can’t see tomorrow, but You see all our tomorrows, and every day of this New Year. Your hands are the only ones big enough to carry us through the uncertain and often frightening days ahead. I ask that each one seeing this right now will sense Your hands holding them, guiding them, strengthening them to complete the mission You have given them to do.

Without You we are nothing. And all our efforts to do things on our own prove fruitless. But with You, there is nothing more that we need or desire in heaven or on earth. (Psalm 73:25)

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What to do After God Speaks

What to do After God Speaks

PrayerYou had a problem, or something you desired deeply. You prayed about it – a lot. You asked others to pray for you about it. And you prayed some more. You struggled, you cried, you tried to listen. And yes, you prayed some more.

Then one day something happened in your spirit. It may not have been an audible voice from heaven, but you heard something in your soul. You felt God spoke to you, and it was good. Very good. Your problem would be taken care of. You were going to receive that which you desired more than anything else. The whole world looked different.

What do you do then? What do you do after God speaks?

I’ve been there. Several times during my life I felt I heard God’s voice in my heart. The first time I was quite young, about 13 years old. I prayed for something specific to happen, and I believed I heard God say to me that what I prayed for would come to pass.

It didn’t happen.

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How to Use Your Faith as Help For Mental Health

How to Use Your Faith as Help For Mental Health

FriendshipMajor depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder – these and other mental-health challenges are part of our human experience just as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease are. If you’re a human being, you’re at risk. And that includes you and me whether or not we’re people of faith.

But that doesn’t mean you’re powerless when it comes to your mental health. Good mental health habits will decrease your chances of mental illness just as good nutrition, physical exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight will lessen your risk of arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Those good mental health habits include such things as nurturing healthy connections with other people, learning to take responsibility for one’s own thoughts, and ensuring a steady mental diet that’s positive and encouraging.

But as many of you know, a healthy physical lifestyle is no guarantee against physical illness. And good mental habits are no guarantee against mental illness. We need something more. We need healing. And we need an eternal perspective.

What role, then, does faith play in your mental health?

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