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Dear Rich, (Pastor at my church, Rich Vincent - www.theocentric.com)
I know we can not understand the reason God does many things and that bad things happen for various reasons we may not comprehend at the time. Why do some people seem to get more than they can handle (ie nervous breakdowns,suicide etc.). It hardly seems fair to say these people did not have enough faith? Please help me understand.
What a great question, and very sensitively asked.
Sometimes Christians coldly assume that anyone who has problems or difficulties is revealing a lack of faith or perhaps even giving evidence that they are not saved. However, becoming a Christian does not mean that we suddenly have all the answers to everything or that we are suddenly given the ability to handle everything flawlessly. We don't have all the answers and we still experience struggles and problems.
The difference now is that we know that God's gracious presence is an unchangeable reality that we can take comfort in. The greatest comfort in life does not come from "knowing all the answers" or "experiencing no difficulties." Rather, the greatest comfort comes from knowing God and His gracious presence in all things.
He may not give us all the answers we need, and He may not remove all the trials in our life, but we can be assured of this--He will not leave us or forsake us! (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5)
Sometimes Christians use 1 Cor. 10:13 to prove that God will never give us more than we can handle. However, this is a simplistic solution in my opinion because it fails to harmonize with the rest of Scripture.
Paul was given more than he could handle: "For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us." (2 Cor. 1:8-10).
Paul was "burdened excessively, beyond his strength." He was so torn that he "despaired even of life."
Why did God put Paul through such difficulties?
Because He did not love Paul?
He put Paul through these difficulties because he loved Paul!
It was through this trial that Paul's faith was refined!
Job was also put through a similarly tormenting time and yet He was one of God's choice saints (Job 1 - 2).
Finally, Jesus experienced despair to the point of desiring suicide over God's will.
He prayed in Garden, My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me. (Matt. 26:38)
In short, sickness, suffering, trials, and difficulties are not a result of weak faith.
Indeed, God often gives those who are strongest the greatest trials.
Jesus "learned obedience from the things which He suffered" (Heb. 5:8).
If this is true of the Son of God, how much more for us?
This is why the Word-faith, prosperity and health-and-wealth teaching is so diabolical and so miserable. It has no place for the cross and suffering. We follow the "man of sorrows, acquainted with grief" (Isa. 53:3).
If we seek to follow our Master, we should expect the same.
Yours in Christ,
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