Question: I became a Christian at age 13, and that was the greatest day of my life. My concern is that I have difficulty believing in prayer, although I still pray all day while working. I was an abused child both sexually and psychologically, and many nights I cried myself to sleep because of what I had gone through. After praying for years I realized my situation was not going to be changed, and it didn’t.
I remember telling God that if he could not answer my prayer just to let me feel a little twinge in my little finger so that I would know He was listening, or maybe to prove He was there. I never did feel that twinge. I have forgiven the family members involved and harbor no bitterness, so why did He not help me then.
Since becoming an adult I have received many blessings, and know of several times that I would be dead if not for divine intervention. I am just trying to understand this and hoping to learn to believe what I pray for, as this troubles me greatly. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work you are doing, we are so very blessed to have you. I do not see this question in the articles.
Answer: We don’t always know why God allows certain things. We do know that all things work together for good to those who love God Romans 8:28 (see the question about this verse.) We know that bad things happen to good people in this world, just look at Abel, Job, etc.
We do know that Satan is the author of sin the Bible says, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44) So often people blame God for the acts of Satan, yes, God has allowed free will in this world and so along with this comes choices that do hurt the innocent.
I believe that someday God will make everything right. Many Christians have suffered and experienced horrible things, but we are not to give up on God. We still trust Him even as Job did. He said, “Though He (God) slay (kill) me yet will I trust Him.” (Job 13:15)
God rewarded that kind of faith! We also know now what was going on behind the scenes, but at the time Job went through his ordeal he had no clue what was happening. Even Job’s so called friends were just positive that Job had done some horrible sin. They were wrong and God made them apologize to Job at the end of the book. Then God blessed Job beyond his wildest dreams. His former children, it is true, were no longer with him, but they were safe in the arms of Jesus!
So I guess what I am trying to say is that even though no one on this earth can give you a definite answer why these horrible things happened to you, we do still know God can bring good out of evil. Not that God caused these things to happen to you, Satan did this, but God now is going to bring light out of darkness, and joy out of pain. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Maybe in some way you are going to be used to bless others with your experience.
Others who may have suffered as you did, or may have suffered in another way need to take soles in these verses. 2 Corinthians says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
There is also an illustration that helps me, so maybe it will help you and others who have suffered the same way or in others ways than you did. The illustration is about embroidery work. On the backside of embroidery work is a tangled mess. There are threads that don’t seem to go anywhere. There are knots that just seem to be useless or in the wrong place. You cannot really distinguish the picture from the backside, but on the other side it is another story. On the other side there is a beautiful picture that makes sense, that has a purpose, and a rhyme, and a reason. That side is like when we get to heaven, there we will understand why.
There is a wonderful poem by Frances R. Havergal it goes like this:
Right was the pathway leading to this!
-by Frances R. Havergal
Light after darkness, gain after loss;
Strength after suffering, crown after cross.
Sweet after bitter, song after sigh;
Home after wandering; praise after cry.
Sheaves after sowing; sun after rain;
Sight after mystery, peace after pain.
Joy after sorrow, calm after blast;
Rest after weariness, sweet rest at last.
Love after loneliness, life after tomb.
After long agony, rapture of bliss;
Right was the pathway leading to this!
I don’t know if this helps at all, but I hope so.
In Christian love,
Gary T. Panell
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