These are the questions:
“If God exists and is good, then why does God allow evil and suffering?” —Atheist / Agnostic
“If God is all powerful, then why don’t Christians go into hospitals and psych wards to heal everyone?” —Skeptic
“Will God heal the non-believer just the same as a believer?” —Inquiring Christian
“I prayed for a miracle, but God did not do it. Why?” —Disillusioned Christian
These are the biblical answers:
1. Human free will stands, according to God’s original design. By it we fell into sin; with it, each of us may be redeemed by grace through faith. Free will means others may affect my life, and that is just the law of existence, which God set into motion. Their freedom is your freedom; and God will not remove it. He keeps His own laws. Mankind makes evil and hurtful or neglegent choices, because mankind is corrupted in nature, not God.
BUT, God promises He alone can redeem these evils into something eternally good, if He is willfully entrusted with both the wrongs and His prescription on how to cope with them. Finding out & following His ways can treat and / or prevent much evil, inner suffering & even physical ailment.
Sometimes God won’t heal us or heal instantly, because He wants us to use our will to find healing by searching out and living in His freeing Truth & ways. That is, God may delay a healing or spread it out over time in order to build the faith of the recipient. Instantaneous healing does happen, but so does prolonged healing.
If He has assured us of healing based on His Word and the illumination of the Spirit, then we must continually believe with praising, or “pray through.” This builds a strong faith! Again, God is more interested in cultivating our person in trusting Him than in providing quick fixes for our temporal, physical bodies. See Luke 18:1-8
And, yes, emotional and psychological healings come at His hands too… but often take much time and much truth.
2. Some (NOT ALL) torments are the result of sin. Examples include: guilt, not forgiving others, the results of covetously seeking riches and fame or worldly success, bitterness or blaming God for not getting your strong desires met, dabbling in occult ritual or magic, bringing railing accusation against / commanding angels, speaking evil/reviling angelic majesties without knowledge/understanding. These must be confessed and renounced in Jesus’ Name before we can command the tormentors to go. (See Jude; Matthew 18:34; Hebrews 12; 1 Timothy 6:10; James 4-5)
3. Our understanding is limited; God’s is limitless. It may be redemptive suffering or glorification of God in unseen realms… Or seen realms (Ex. Job, John 9:1-12). We are not gods; He is God. It is about His glory, AND He rewards those who suffer but keep faith! [See Befitting Rewards Series and 1 Peter 4 & Luke 22:31]
4. This is a fallen world in an evil age—temporal—not Heaven. Sickness, disaster, disease & death are not only possible but probable; but God wants our trust in Him for the rescue of our eternal soul—even above trust for temporal fixes—as well as the maturing of our (believers’) person into Jesus’ likeness. We did not give God trust in a perfect age (Garden of Eden). This present evil age is about trusting Him while enduring ills. If we do so, He will give us His wisdom & understanding. Therefore, He may or may not heal / deliver based on our need to grow into Christ’s likeness. Jesus suffered and was perfected by it too, but He suffered so that He could rescue us from eternal separation from God in judgement. The rescue and mature development of your eternal soul is more important to God than your temporal / bodily desires. Only by suffering, can we be made better (more empathetic, wise, understanding, compassionate, self-less, content) people.
Speaking of being mortal, getting older and chronically sick is hard. King Solomon puts it best by saying: “Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and you say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’ (Ecclesiastes 12:1). God says you were supposed to have spent your youthful years learning the Wisdom of God, SO THAT when you are older and sicker and feeble you would be prepared instead of lost for answers about life in this fallen world. Youth is preparation for getting older, not a thing to be squandered as if to say, “Tonight, we are young. So, let’s set the world on fire.” The best way to age gracefully is to age (gain) in wisdom. Even wine gets better with age, even though it rots.
See Romans 8:29-30; John 16:33; Ecclesiastes 12
5. God is not partial or vengeful. He gives both blessings and trials to the just and the unjust alike. He lets good things and “bad” things happen for a reason, which is: both blessing and suffering are meant to lead us to faith in God, either in response for his goodness OR in seeing the brokenness of the fallen world & desiring to be rescued from this present evil, fallen age.; and, as indicated above, trials and suffering can either grow or destroy our empathy and compassion…. The choice is ours, whether to become better humans or not. See Matthew 5:45
6. The proud, rich & affluent of this world are often self sufficient (poor in faith). We think we have a remedy or fix or prevention or insurance for everything… somehow invincible. We need to learn our frailty and vulnerability and trust in the presence of God (See above). To become spiritually rich, we must fully realize we are poor in spirit; and a revelation of our spiritual bankruptcy before God does not happen without trials. By the way, if we treat prayer for healing like a “treatment” so that we can go on living in our godless and selfish ways, then God won’t heal us. See James 2:5; 5; Matthew 5:3
7. Someone must ask for healing (spiritual & physical) in Jesus’ Name. If one does not believe in Him as the only true God and Savior, why should He give them a healing / deliverance? In the Bible records, healings are always given so that faith may be established in Him. This is not to say God will not preserve life, even in miraculous ways, until that one has a chance to hear the Good News of Jesus. God has and will heal, or allow a near death experience, or miraculously protect or deliver someone from tragedy, if/when that person needs to hear / accept the Good News of Jesus.
[See Bible passages recording healings and “What About Those Who Have Not Heard?“]
8. Believers do not direct or empower spiritual gifts (healing, etc.) to use at their will, as if the power is theirs. It is God’s power and at His will. (See above & 1 Corinthians 12:11)
9. Prayer is aligning with God’s rule & will over us. Sometimes He says no, even to those who are righteous (repentant attitude). To pray for His “Kingdom to come & His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven” is not a question of His will getting done, as if God can’t do everything He wants in this present, evil age. But rather, to pray this is to practice aligning ourselves with God’s will and rule by agreement of spirit and a confident trust in Him. This is called faith, and untainted faith is sourced in (or flows out of) love. If we love God, we desire His rule and his will to happen on earth, even if it goes against our natural desires; and this stands in direct contradistinction to the collective will of fallen, unregenerate humanity… which seeks self-will and self-rule at all costs. The “Lord’s Prayer” is a form of worship, not a revelation of God’s impotence. So, we may pray outright for healing (believer & non-believer alike), but if God does not heal you—in His Divine wisdom—will you love him and trust him anyway? Will you learn to pray with agreement from the heart, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done.” [*Note: this prayer is also prophetic concerning His future 1000 yr. reign from Jerusalem]
As Nick Vujicic says:
“If you don’t get a miracle, be the miracle.”
10. God wants fellowship. More than any, God has suffered; because in all our suffering, He suffers. We are His Creation gone astray by the free will he gave us and enduring evils He never would have chosen for us. He also provides the remedy of His Son at His own costly expense. But, just like Abraham and all the patriarchs and great people of faith, they endured great hardship & testing down here, so that they would know the fellowship of Christ Jesus’ sufferings… a necessary “evil” that must go alongside of knowing “the power of His resurrection!” These people were called “friend” by God and enjoyed deep relationship with Him while on earth and afterward in Heaven. Are you desiring exemption from this? As Romans 8 puts it, “I reckon that the present sufferings of this age are nothing to be compared to the glory to be revealed in us…. If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.” See Romans 4; 5:3; 8; Hebrews 11
Key Word Search: Trials of Faith
Dealing with Loss, Evil, Suffering and Hopelessness
For a list of people in the Bible who were righteous and not healed, see Warnings about the Word of Faith Movement
When God Says No