And what do you do when suddenly something you believed in seems to be nonsense?(11 Posts)
Sorry, saw the thread below and finally gave me the courage to ask!
My little brother died last May after 4 1/2 days in hospital. He was hit by a car and suffered serious brain injury which eventually killed him.
That time in hospital was spent mostly by his bedside, but also in the 'quiet room' of the neuro intensive care ward, on my knees, praying for (and whole-heartedly believing in) his recovery. Hundreds of people from my church, and their families throughout the world also prayed.
So what is the point in asking for something in prayer, as we are told we should do, if God has already made up his mind that it won't be so?
PS I may regret getting into this, but it's been bugging me for a while. Please be gentle
Oh sweetheart, I am so sorry for the loss of your little brother.
And of course nobody in the world can give answers to your questions. The problem of why bad things happen to good people is one that vexes Christians and non-Christians alike.
Why does God let it happen? What had your little brother ever done to deserve this? What's the point of prayer, as you so rightly ask.
All I can say is that God is with you in your grief.. You may never know what the purpose of your brother's life, or his death, was. But you can be sure that because God is God and God is good there is some purpose in it.
God never promises that His answer to our prayers will have the outcome we want. But we are promised that "all things work for the good of those who love God" (Rom 8:28).
And so I pray for you that you will have the strength to accept the comfort that your faith can give you in this very difficult time. That the grief will not make you bitter so that you turn away from God and are truly bereft.
This is a difficult one to answer without sounding preachy or insensitive to your feelings. There are a couple of ways of looking at it.
Firstly we pray, because Jesus prayed - he set us an example of prayer in the Lord's prayer. Below are some examples I did for a bible study class on prayer:
He prayed by himself (Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23, Luke 6:12)
He prayed with the disciples (Luke 9:28)
He prayed with others in the synagogue (Mark 1:21, Luke 4:16)
He prayed before major decisions (Luke 6:12-13, Mark 14:32-36)
He prayed for his disciples (Luke 22:31-32, John 17)
He prayed as part of his ministry (Mark 9:28-29, John 11:41-44, Luke 10:21)
He teaches about prayer (Matt 6:5-15, Matt 7:7-11, Mark 11:22-25, Luke 11:5-13, Luke 18:1-14, John 14:12-14, John 15:15-17, John 16:23-28)
Secondly, do you have children, and do you know their needs? Do you still like them to ask you for things, even though you know what they want? It also helps build up a relationship between you and your children. I believe that praying and asking for things is part of that building of a relationship with God. I have no idea whether God had already made up his mind - to me that is assuming that God thinks in human terms. I personally have found a great deal of comfort in prayer, and that by regularly praying, asking for things, saying thanks for things, and sometimes shouting WHY!!!! my relationship with God (to me it seems like this) has become stronger.
I am really sorry to hear about your brother, and I hope this helps.
I know that God won't always answer how we want him to. But then I get back to, what's the point in asking, if it's only to feel let down afterwards?
And if my son repeatedly asked me for something that was incredibly important to him, and I refused, where would that leave him? How would he feel about me? Abandoned, unimportant, not listened to.
I have doubts now about a God who is good and stands back to allow all sorts of nasty stuff happen. Including abandoning his own son to die.
I ahven't received any comfort from my faith.
The way I look at it is, God has the bigger picture, and there is a reason why things happen, even if we don't know it.
If your son wanted something like a toy really badly, but you knew he was getting it for Christmas, would you still give it to him? Or ice cream, knowing that he had his tea coming up? I realise that's not the same as your brother's life, and apologise if it hurts, I don't mean to be crass and stupid about it.
I messed up my life some years ago, and turned away from God. My faith was no comfort to me at all, in fact my faith, and what the church had taught me, caused a great deal of pain and feelings of rejection. Somehow, it all came good again, although it took time for me to return to faith again - to be honest I only did it for my children, to start with. Then I gradually began to get more involved and ask questions about what had happened. The next time when something awful happened, I was still in a state (spent time in church crying and shouting why!!!), but I resolved that this time I wouldn't turn away, but blindly keep going. Since turning away didn't help last time. I can finally see the other side, and to me its been worth it. I'm still not at a point where I totally trust God, I still pray and ask for things though.
And as for why he let his son die on the cross? I still struggle with this, but the only thing that makes sense to me is that Jesus IS God, so he was letting himself suffer and die, in human form, so that we would know he was right there with us when we suffer. It was proof to us, if you like, that he knew what it felt like, in the horriblest way imaginable.
No I still can't answer why bad things happen, and I'm sorry you get no comfort from your faith. I hope and pray one day you can make sense of it all.
First of all, I'm very sorry for the loss of your brother.
Secondly, I don't normally post in this topic and let me apologise in advance as I'm a muddled thinker and writer and this may not come across clearly. But try to bear with me.
There is a scrip in Rev 12.12 that says woe for the earth for the devil has been hurled down. Also if you recall when Satan tempted Jesus he offered him the kingdoms of the earth. Jesus didn't refute Satans sense of ownership. I believe that Satan is in control of the earth at the moment. This isn't to say he causes all the bad things to happen. Eccl 9:11 says time and unforseen occurence befalls us all. Satan and man think they can do a better job at ruling themselves and at the moment they are trying it out. I can't really get into the depth of it here, but I hope it goes somes to showing why God isn't stepping in at the moment and solving all our problems for us.
God sacrificing his son on our behalf has to be one of the most loving things anyone can do. Jesus was a ransom sacrifice to counter Adams imperfection. It was prophesised in Gen 3:15 that this would happen. Jesus was happy to do his Fathers will throughout his life even to death. John 19:30 He called out It has been accomplished. Again this is a very involved subject as I'm sure you know, but it is an indicatin of Gods loving kindness and mercy to do this for us.
While God may not answer our prayers in the way that we want him to, he certainly will provide a means of coping with things that happen to us. For myself, using the knowledge I have I wouldn't pray for me not to lose my job, as a basic example, but I pray for help to be frugal in case I do, and to cope with it, if it should happen. One of the scriptures I easily remember is Phil 4:6. Do not be anxious over anything but in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving petition God.
There are also these:
Psalm 55:22 Throw your burden on God, he will sustain you
1 Cor 10:12,13 He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, and also make the way out so you can endure it.
Heb 13:5 I will not leave you, nor forsake you.
It rains on good and bad alike (Matt 5:45), so logically bad things happen to everyone as well. So while God isn't intervening in human affairs right now, he is there now for us to give us comfort and help us to endure the things life throws at us.
Again, I'm sorry if this was very rambling and I hope that you can understand what I'm trying to say. Do get out your Bible and look up the scriptures I've mentioned here. I really hope you'll find some comfort and not alienate yourself from him. Draw close to God and he will draw close to you (James 4:8)
hi, im so sorry for your loss. My younger brother died when he was a baby ( I was 3 but remember it well)He was v. poorly since birth and had a v. rare inherited disease. I am also a christian and wheni was early teens went through the same thing of how could a God who was good etc let this happen. Not sure what to tell you that helped me apart from that i truly believed that he was at least with God and not in any more pain. have had a tough time understanding the whole Good God/suffering thing and still not sure of it now but I do still hold fast to my faith. I won't say that time is a healer BUT it does help to make it more bearable. Not sure if any of this helps at all but please know that i will be praying for you and your family.
Answers that make any sense in the face of what you've gone through aren't going to be easy to find.
The only way I could deal with this a few years ago was to believe that God, if good and loving, did not have the power to change things - that he could be with us, suffer with us and comfort us, but could not heal - perhaps that physical healing etc was not what God was about. That was my only answer. I found this comforting for a long time, and it allowed me to return to my faith. i can't say this has been sustained though, and a lot of people I respect believe in an interventionist God, so I never think I have the answers. It is very hard though to see e.g. my husband suffering as he has suffered for 20 years, and think that this is in any sense God's plan for him.
You've had some good advice on here, and I just wanted to add my condolences. IME, there's no 'pat' answer. Scripture tells us much, but we don't get the whole picture - we get the 'seamy side of the tapestry', as Corrie Ten Boom put it.
I've faced lots and lots of doubts, and even the very question you're wrestling with. The only thing I know to do is wait.
Thank you all for your replies. Probably the best advice so far is to wait. I guess the whole grief thing is a long-winded journey anyway, and my faith is bound to be wrapped up in that.
In answer to some things, though; I wouldn't eactly say that jesus was happy to do his father's will. He sweat blood, and prayed for God to choose another route, and even felt the pain of abandonment, so yes, he chose to do the father's will, but not happily, rather, painfully. The difference being of course, that he is God, and thus has an absolute trust in the father that I don't.
I found myself drawing incredibly close to God in the immediate aftermath of my brother's death, and he certainly didn't draw close to me. I felt an acute sense of abandonment, which probably served to push me away from him. I don't understand and can't explain this, but it is what I felt.
I know we all pray, we're supposed to, and of course we do. But if God has already mapped out everything, and knows already what his answers will be, what's the point in praying at all? I just can't reconcile the idea of bringing everything 'in supplication and thanksgiving' and believing in 'ask, knock, open' to the reality of our world. Sometimes when we pray God does guve us a scorpion and not an egg. I don't get that.
I'm guessing it's good though, that I still ask the questions. At least it means I'm grappling. And I will wait. I'm not yet ready to give in.
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