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Only God Knows

QUESTION: Only God Knows - What do I do when I don't understand?


Only God knows why disasters occur. When the news displays a vivid picture of destruction, we instinctively search for purpose in such tragedy. Disasters occur for a variety of reasons. Careless actions set property ablaze; technology malfunctions; individuals fail to heed the warnings of imminent danger. In some cases, the causes can neither be easily identified nor justified.

Only God knows why natural disasters and diseases must ravage the earth. If we allow ourselves to look beyond our anger and frustration at being powerless to control these events, we see the true nature of God.
  • Floods – God hates evil, while rescuing those who choose to serve Him (Genesis 6:5–13, Genesis 7:4).
  • Plagues – God delivers us from hopeless situations (Exodus 8–11).
  • Unexplained Laws of Nature – God maintains control over all He has created (Exodus 14:15–28).
  • Loss of Possessions and Family – God tests our faithfulness to Him (Job 1:8–22).
  • Famines – God warns us of events yet to unfold (Matthew 24:7)
  • Earthquakes – God reveals His awesome presence before us (Matthew 27:50–53).
  • Astronomical Upheavals – God rules above the kings of the earth (Revelation 6:12–17).
Only God knows why babies and children die. When Job lost his seven sons and three daughters, he fell to the ground before God. Instead of blaming God, Job surrendered his agony and pain to God. The death of a child seems so senseless. My daughter contracted spinal meningitis when she was eight days old. Jackie fully recovered. A newborn contracted the same illness but did not survive. On Jackie’s discharge day, a broken-hearted mother confronted me. “My baby boy died and your daughter lived! Where was God when my son died?”

Only God knows why one child survives while another dies. We must understand that innocence does not immune anyone from a “premature” death. God witnessed the slaughter of boys under two years of age (Matthew 2:16–18) and the sacrifice of sons and daughters to idols (Jeremiah 7:31–32). “The Lord’s loved ones are precious to him; it grieves him when they die” (Psalm 116:15). God may use a child’s death to draw us closer to Him—the widow’s son (Luke 7:12–16); Jarius’ daughter (Luke 8:49–55). Ultimately God permitted His only Son’s death to draw us into an eternal relationship with Him.

Only God knows why the wicked prosper. In Jeremiah 12:1, the prophet asks, “Lord, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you. Now let me bring you this complaint: Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil people so happy?” There is the assumption that if we are “good” we deserve to be rich and happy [see “Why does God allow evil to touch our lives?”]. The Bible points out that the wicked lack wisdom. Most likely, this is one reason for their continual downfall, choosing to ignore God. The prosperity of the wicked man spawns pride in earthly acquisitions; ultimately wickedness destroys itself (Psalm 37:35–38; 1 Timothy 6:9). In contrast, when we seek wisdom from God, choosing to obey His commands, God’s prosperity is ours.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

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What do you think?
We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

What is your response?

Yes, I want to follow Jesus

I am a follower of Jesus

I still have questions

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