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Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? Luke 18:7 (CEV)

Someday, when this life on earth is over, I’ll cross over into the presence of my Lord Jesus. I don’t really know what awaits me or how it all works. I only know who will be there and that is enough for me.

When I get there, my plan is to spend the first 1-2 million years worshiping him at his feet. Gazing into those eyes of love I’ve waited to see for so long. Examining the scars on his hands and feet and the scar on his side, the very markings that made it possible for me to even enter his presence, much less spend eternity with him.

After those 1-2 million years are over, I’d like to ask him a few questions, respectfully of course and in extreme love. I want to ask Jesus why so many of us have prayed for healing only to see that healing come in the way of the grave, while other people pray for healing and see miraculous, unexplainable healing.

I want to ask him why some kids from very good families make choices that harm their family and themselves, while at the same time kids from very dysfunctional families make good choices that glorify God.

I want to ask him why so many women and children are abused when they are surrounded by loving, praying, caring friends. And why natural disasters and political upheavals and financial greed were allowed to run so rampantly when so many people prayed against it.

There are so many other questions I want to ask Jesus when I get there. Then again, maybe not. While I consider all the pain of my own life, the stupid choices I’ve made, the rebellious, selfish, harmful decisions that affected my life, I realize that in so many ways my prayers have been answered.

I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. I wish he would answer my prayers in my time and in my way. But his timing is always best. We see tragedies in life in need of ‘fixing’ for life to be complete. He sees opportunities in life to draw us closer to him. When the bad stuff happens we can choose to be angry (and miserable) or trusting (and at peace). His goal is for a life of peace in the midst of the struggles. His desire is for us to experience the forgiveness and freedom of grace.

Christian Author, Max Lucado says, in his book ‘A Gentle Thunder’, “Though you hear nothing he is speaking. Though you see nothing he is acting. With God there are no accidents. Every incident is intended to bring us closer to him.”

I may not understand why bad things happen in this world, but my trust is in the one who loves me and promises to meet my needs.

PRAYER: Father God, there are some many times that I am confused by what happens in life around me. Prayers seem to go unanswered. Relationships fail. Bills increase while income decreases. In the midst of all this, I trust your promises. Empower me to trust you for all my needs. Thank you for Jesus. I can’t wait to see him face to face. Amen.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14

Each of us has dreams growing up. We dream of being famous. We dream of having fancy clothes, big homes and vacation homes and being able to travel. Then life hits us and for the vast majority of us we look back and see that little, if anything, went as planned.

Gravity attacks our body with vengeance. Old age reminds us of our mortality. We fall victim to health issues, financial issues or relational issues. We suffer from own poor choices or the abuse of others. Our children struggle. A car accident, a fall, an illness can change things in an instant and all the dreaming and planning is for nothing.

The only thing we can be certain of in life is uncertainty. Even King Solomon, with all his wealth and power, bemoaned the fact that the things in life are empty. Still we plan all these things about tomorrow without really knowing where our next breath will come from. No matter how wise we are and no matter how much we plan for the future, reality is we just can’t see tomorrow.

That’s the bad news. Now for the good news. We have a Heavenly Father who not only sees tomorrow. He created it. Tomorrow may not hold what you’d hoped for or expected, but it is EXACTLY what He expected. There are no surprises with God.

Not only has He been to tomorrow and back, He wants you to succeed. While the consequences of poor choices may have sent you on a detour, He can always bring you back to the main road. Happiness and contentment in life isn’t from the things we hold in our hands, but from the things we hold in our heart.

James doesn’t tell us not to plan. Planning is vitally important. The old adage “If you fail to plan you plan to fail’ isn’t in the Bible but its very true. What James is telling us as Christ-followers is that we need always to include God in those plans and leave room for his working. Our lives are like vapors, like the early morning fog. Here now, gone later. All the material things we’ve done will soon pass. But the lives we change will continue on.

The key to success in live isn’t planning and education or relying on the advice of other people. Success comes by seeking God’s direction for you. Education and the wisdom of those who’ve gone before you is important, but only when combined with seeking God for direction.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. I look behind me and see so many mistakes I’ve made, and I suffer the  consequences of. I fear what lies ahead of me with health, finances and relationships. I thank you that while my life here is short, my life with you will last for eternity. Help me to learn to include you in all my dreams so that I can store my riches with you for eternity. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Surely you wouldn’t do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn’t do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?” Genesis 18:25 (NLT)

Even someone with the strongest faith has to admit at times that we wonder why God allows the righteous and innocent suffer. We are appalled when news reports tell of women and children being used as human shields by people at war. It seems even more appalling when God seems to condone this activity. Face it; if He is the Sovereign God we claim He is, He certainly should be able to protect the women and children of the world.

In our weaker moments we can understand why some people boldly proclaim that God doesn’t exist or, if He does, He’s completely lost control of the world and its events. An all-powerful God of love and justice would never  allow these tragedies to happen.

Perhaps Abraham had the same thoughts going through his mind when he overheard God talking with the two visitors who accompanied Him on a visit to Abraham. That event, in and of itself is an amazing thing to think about. How would our lives be different is God visibly and personally visited us as He did Abraham on several occasions!

The visit in Genesis 18:25 may have been the most troubling however. As Abraham listens in, God and the other two men with Him (Jesus and the Holy Spirit?) were talking about the destruction of two cities that had become increasingly evil: Sodom and Gomorrah.

Normally, Abraham may not have really concerned himself with the topic. However, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, lived in Sodom. Out of love and concern for his nephew Abraham dared to question God’s plans! He bargained with God: “If you find 50 righteous will you destroy the city? 25? 10? At each level God promised that if righteous people were found the city would be spared.

Sadly, that didn’t happen. The angels had to literally drag Lot, his wife and two daughters out of Sodom moments before the city was buried under burning sulfur. Even then, Lot’s wife perished when she looked back and was transformed into a pillar of salt.

Throughout our lives there will be events that will cause us to question why. Abraham’s conversation with God before Sodom was destroyed shows that we serve a God who is not unapproachable. Abraham argued with God over Sodom for the sake of his nephew and by doing so may have saved Lots life. During those times of struggle in our lives we need to remember that we can come to God and let all of our emotions out. He will listen to you in the midst of your struggles!

Each of us needs to realize that even though the actions God allows seem to be harsh now, His actions seek a better good. We can’t always understand why God acts the way He does. There are times when we need to just accept His actions based on our faith in Him. We see things in a finite way with a beginning and end. God sees things in relation to eternity. When calamity happens it falls upon the guilty and the innocent, the rich and the poor, the young and the old. But God is in control.

When you are in the midst of adversity, even those times when you don’t think you can go on, remember that God IS there. He is NOT silent. He DOES love you. Rely on Him for the strength to carry on especially when you don’t understand the ‘why?’

PRAYER: Holy Father. I confess to you that I don’t understand the way you work. I see so much pain in the lives of others. I’m going through emotional and physical pain myself. There are times when I doubt your existence and your concern. I ask that you would help me to be honest with you and with myself. Help me, in Jesus name, to seek understanding where I need to understand, and faith to trust you when there are no answers. I ask today that if my struggles are not going to leave, you would give me strength and comfort to endure. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

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