Why Doesn’t The Lord Prevent Bad Things?
A Devotional from John 11:28–37
28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. 30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. 31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? John 11:28–37
Couldn’t he have prevented it?
Is he not the Great Physician? Has he not opened the eyes of the blind, removed the lepers spots, caused lame legs to walk and deaf ears to hear? Could he not have prevented the death of Lazarus and saved those that he loves all the heartache and tears? That is what some of the following crowd that had hoped to comfort Mary and Martha said about Jesus,
“Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” John 11:37
Mary herself had fallen to the feet of Jesus and said almost the same thing,
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” John 11:32
Their question has also dominated my thoughts recently, why didn’t he step in and stop some things? Why didn’t he keep that precious, sweet lady from getting sick? Why didn’t he send an Angel to swerve that car away from that faithful family’s car? Why didn’t he use his sovereignty to stop that relationship before it ever got started? Why didn’t he step in my way before I said such stupid things?
I know he could have prevented this, but why didn’t he?
I have to admit that I am still seeking a complete understanding to the answer to these questions.
He set the rules.
We must always remember that he set the rules at the beginning of the game. He told the first couple in the garden that disobedience would bring death. He gave them a choice and the consequences. It was at that point that sickness and suffering entered the world. While not every sickness or tragedy is the direct punishment of a particular sin, they are present because sin came into the equation and brought death. Adam and Eve sinned and we have continued the practice. We should not be surprised at suffering, he set the rules in the very beginning.
In this chapter Jesus gave a couple of better explanations about why the he doesn’t always prevent bad things from happening.
John 11:4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
Jesus told his disciples that the end result of Lazarus’ sickness would not be death. Our Lord was planning on a resurrection the entire time. Why would all this happen? That the Son of God might be glorified by it. For some this is hard to read, but God does allow bad things to happen for his glory. Without tragedy we would never know his ability to rescue, his comforting power and his grace. If he steps in and never allows us to take wrong paths then we would not be free and his mercy would never be experienced. If he broke the rules every time and always rescued us from the consequences of a fallen world then we would never understand the depth of his capacity for love. Why does he not prevent every bad thing, so that we can see his glory!
Another reason can be found in his response to his disciples after giving them the news of the demise of Lazarus.
John 11:14–15 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
Why doesn’t he prevent bad things? To increase our faith so that we might truly believe. I have seen my Lord allow some bad situation to become hopeless before he comes to the rescue. I believe that he does this to show how great he is and to teach us that he can be trusted. He loves our faith, that is how the Scripture says that we please him.
Whatever the reason may be that he doesn’t prevent bad things from happening we can rest assured that the one who is the resurrection and the life has promised a future of life with no suffering and joy.
He deserves glory and our trust, let’s give it to him.