Why Should I Believe In A God Who Doesn’t Seem To Help?



Craig Bluemel



Job 30:20-21

20    "I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me.

21    You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me.





At first glance the title of this study appears to be a message directed at the unsaved.  Many unbelievers distain the profession by born again Christians of a benevolent and caring God.  They argue, “If such a God does exist, why has He let them down in their life, particularly during times of personal crisis?” 


One must give consideration the born-again believer who feels that his or her heavenly Father no longer cares.   Perhaps they feel as though God has let them down and they are past being discouraged.  Their circumstances have gone from bad to worse, then from worse to despondent and then to utterly hopeless.  Each day is drudgery and an existence of despair.  The future is bleak and promises only more pain.


Job experienced this type of disillusionment; he prayed, and God did not seem to answer his cries for help.  It became apparent to Job that God’s hand was involved in the ruthless attack on his physical well-being.  The hand of Satan had smitten Job, but God allowed it.  Job was in really bad shape, and he hurt so badly each and every minute of the day he just wanted to die.


Life on earth is quite often unfair, and Christians are not exempt from its devastation.  Believer and unbeliever alike are subject to painful emotions, uncertainties, doubts, worries, loneliness, grief, disillusionment and disappointments. 


Christendom in America today espouses a sort of divine Santa Claus theology.  Those who promote this concept have given their teachings more palatable labels such as, ‘God’s Covenant Promises,’ or, ‘His Faithfulness To Deliver,” or the worst of them all, “Plant a financial seed and reap a physical blessing.”  It is widely taught that if the child of God will hold firmly to the promises of scripture, eventually the Lord will save them out of their troubles.


Recently I heard Paula White preaching on a television broadcast, and she asserted that a believer was not subject to the natural laws if they put their faith in a supernatural God.  This kind of theology is dangerous, and beyond arrogant.  Perhaps Ms. White wouldn’t mind jumping off of a cliff to defy the “natural law” of gravity.  I can assure you, she will fall like a sack of rocks just like anyone else.  Faith in God must not contradict the natural laws that the Creator Himself made!


In reality, the tragic events of life show no distinction between the faithful and their unfaithful counterpart.  Disease, disaster, destruction, financial ruin, accidents and the like are not partial to any human being.  Even when a Christian believes with all of his or her heart, most of the time, it doesn’t change their physical circumstances.  God the Father is above the laws of nature, but we are not.  He can usurp those natural forces with supernatural miracles, but most often He does not do so.


Misfortune and calamity are frequently random, as we see from the 9/11/01 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the flight that was heroically downed in Pennsylvania.  There were many Christians and unbelievers alike who were innocent victims of this atrocity.  Since God did not save those who trusted in Him for their protection, should they have believed in Him?


Christian and non-Christian can be injured and paralyzed from the waist down by simply falling from atop a ladder.  Both have bones that break and spinal cords that can be severed.  God does not distinguish between the human bodies of one or the other; so why believe in God? 


In this example, both will face the daily struggles, emotional upheaval, agony and medical bills that may financially ruin them.  Both individuals will face months or years of painful and fatiguing rehabilitation and will have to adapt to a lifestyle that inhibits their mobility.  These wounded souls will spend a lifetime wrestling daily with feelings of worthlessness due to their lack of productivity.


Being a Christian and quoting scripture will not exempt you from the stark realization that you are now confined to a wheelchair for the rest of your life; neither will NOT believing in God.  So… why believe in God?


Many, if not most Christians, will never face such a crisis.  Most will continue their lives unconsciously taking for granted the use of their legs.  I cannot explain why, nor can anyone else.  Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people.  Bad things happen to bad people, and good things happen to good people.  So why believe in God?


My Foot Almost Slipped


King David nearly stumbled in his walk with God when he saw how the wicked prospered.  Psalms chapter seventy-three is the discourse of a man who loved the LORD, but could not rationalize why wicked and arrogant people seem to be trouble-free.


Psalms 73:1-28


Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.

For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.

They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.

Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.

From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.

They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression.

Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.

Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.

They say, "How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?"

This is what the wicked are like-- always carefree, they increase in wealth.

Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.

If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed your children.

When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me

till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.

How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!

As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,

I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.  (NIV)


Not much can be added to David’s psalm; he expresses not only the frustration of a man who tries to keep his heart pure, and finds his circumstances to be a steady stream of tribulations, ache and distress.  There are some key points that can be found to balance out the negative aspects of this passage of scripture.


David felt he had kept his heart pure in vain (vs. 13) because “every morning” he thought he was being “punished” (vs. 14).  In verse 15 David tries to make sense of the apparent unfairness and injustice of life saying, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.”


It was only when he understood the eternal destiny of the wicked that David began to understand the random fairness or unfairness of life.  We would compare it to movie moguls, financiers and others who seem to get whatever they want, and enjoy it all without health problems.  But when death draws near to them, what will their wealth do to save them?


·         Matthew 16:26-27 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.  (NIV)


The wicked and righteous alike can meet with sudden calamity, but which one will face death with happiness?  Which one will stand before God in His eternal glory?


David’s circumstances were so painful they nearly drove him insane:  “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.  Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”


Have you ever felt and acted like a brute beast when your human spirit was embittered by the daily strain of tribulation?  Don’t beat yourself up too badly my friend; you are in good company.  God doesn’t want us to be phony and plastic when we endure hardship.  Honesty is integrity, and it will keep your heart from utterly failing.  In spite of how he reacted to these struggles, David recognized the God was ALWAYS holding him by His hand (even when David acted like a jerk towards God).


The bottom line is simple; eternity is the goal of the righteous, NOT the acquisition of pleasant and comfortable circumstances while here on the earth.  Good health is important until you lose it; then it is counted as loss and only Jesus is counted as profitable.


·         Philippians 3:7-9 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.  (NIV)


David finishes the Psalms chapter seventy-three with the expression of his inmost desire for God, “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.  But as for me, it is good to be near God.” (Psalms 73:24-28)


Eternity is the goal and we must try to focus on what is unseen.  However, to live in denial of the destruction and ruin we experience doesn’t help.  Contrasting good health and prosperity with calamity is a reality in America because of the affluence all around us.  We are all to aware that there is “something better” available, even though it eludes us when we are stripped of our health, materialistic well-being etc.


For the most part, people who live in third world nations and whose poverty is so pervasive, have no point of reference for comparing their plight.  They don’t long for prosperity nor do they claim it is their “inalienable right” because they don’t even know it exists.  Good health, proper hygiene and all the things we westerners take for granted are almost foreign concepts to them.


David saw the wicked acting as though they were carefree and doing great, while he, being a man of God suffered tremendously.  This sentiment of David was voiced in very graphic language, “They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.  They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.”


This study is not intended for the person that offers token prayers or gestures of sympathy to those who live with perpetual suffering and depression.  Most Christians will not even find this short treatise of any value, because they have lived their life in relative ease and lack of want.  For the people who must endure the hard press, the emptiness of loss, the bitterness of feeling forsaken, the complete loss of mobility due to failing health or disease or an accident, and whose pain is daily, perhaps it will offer hope.


Empty Promises?


“How can I trust in God when He lets some madman run loose in my city shooting and killing innocent people at random?  No one, including Christians, can feel safe and secure knowing God is allowing this vile expression of free will.”


“What kind of God would allow me to be falsely accused?  Why has He left me to rot in this hellhole of a prison for ten years?  I thought the scripture said that He would execute justice and He would vindicate His people…I guess not. ”


“Where was God when my six year old son was found drowned in the neighbor’s swimming pool?  I always prayed for His protection to be upon my children believing God would honor His word.  Was I just wasting my time?”


“Where was God when my newlywed bride was savagely raped and brutalized?  Where is He now, when she is traumatized on a daily basis re-living this nightmarish event in her thoughts, feelings and dreams?  So much for the promises of protection and peace!”


“Why should I believe in a God who failed to protect me when a tree fell on my car, crushing my legs so badly they had to be amputated?  I have always believed in healing because it is in the Bible; I suppose God selectively chooses those He will and won’t heal.  Christians claim He heals, but I have never heard of God who grows new legs to replace the ones that were severed.”


“Where was God when my husband of fourteen years was cheating on me and having sexual intercourse with HIV and AIDS infected prostitutes?  Where is this loving God you so confidently boast in when I was diagnosed as being HIV positive?  Why has a loving Creator allowed my children to be infected as well?  I thought the Bible said that God’s angels always watched over the little children!”


“Why didn’t God care that my home was destroyed and my family killed by a freak tornado?  I always believed the verses that said we would dwell securely in Him, and look where it got me!  Why should I believe for safety in someone I cannot see?  Even if I could, He has left me all alone with a life of misery and grief.”


“Why should I believe in a God who seemingly had no concern whatsoever for the hundreds of lives lost in the 9/11/01 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center Buildings?  My husband was a firefighter and a devoted Christian.  Is that how God rewards those who devote their lives to helping others?”


“Can I really trust in the unseen God who has done nothing to keep my body from being ravaged by disease and pain?  I committed my life to Him, and faithfully spent years caring for and discipling others.  Now, when I need Him the most, His ears seem deaf to my cries for help, and He does not respond to the hundreds of prayers offered on my behalf.  His word promises sleep to His beloved, and yet this chronic sleep disorder robs me of rest each and every night.” 


The reasons not to believe in God are, quite frankly, never-ending.  When catastrophe strikes an individual, whether it is the loss of a loved one, an incurable physical ailment, or any event that has a lifelong impact, sooner or later there will be serious questions about God’s involvement.  Does He really care, or is that just a bunch of Christian rhetoric?


Those who have never been initiated into the school of sorrow and suffering will glibly quote their pet verses of scripture to affix a reason for it.  To these God ‘s word says:


·         Proverbs 14:10 Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.  (NIV)


When it comes to giving advice, there are always those who fancy themselves as the fount of spiritual knowledge.  They know nothing of the bitterness felt in the soul of another, yet they are quick to speak, and slow of hearing. 


·         Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.  (NIV)


A person’s intentions in consoling another with scripture may stem from pure motives.  However, their Bible quotes are nothing but empty promises unless their experience matches their words.


I have often heard the well-meaning consolations of those unfamiliar with suffering, “God works all things together for good,” they say, trying hard, but convincing only themselves.  This is no consolation or comfort at all to the mother watching her child’s tiny frame struggling for each breath in the critical care unit of the local hospital.  This grieving parent realizes that if her child survives, they will endure a life with permanent brain damage, devastating hopes and dreams, draining her finances for a lifetime, and constituting perpetual needs for 24-hour healthcare.


·         Proverbs 13:12-16 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.  He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.  The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.  Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.  Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool lays open his folly.  (NKJ)


True empathy comes from having endured the daily, unyielding torment of chronic pain, or feeling the fatigue, emptiness, and sorrow of loss, or having been beaten by the relentless trouncing of demonic forces, or having been immersed in the hollow darkness of many sleepless nights.  You cannot truly console another unless you have walked in their shoes. 


·         2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed {be} the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  (NAS)


God the Father comforts those who are afflicted, and they, in turn, are able to comfort others.  The words translated “comfort(s), and comforted” are derived from the Greek, “parakaléo,” meaning, “to call near to, i.e. invite, invoke.”  Once you have suffered pain, grief and loss, your heart becomes soft like a well-oiled leather glove, custom fit to the hand of those that are in need.


·         Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  (NAS)


·         Proverbs 25:11 A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.  (NIV)


To identify with and be close to the personal pain and anguish of another is a gift most Christians would prefer not to have.  This “gift” is not like a birthday or Christmas present.  Rather, it is the heart wrenching pain of being intertwined with a brother or sister who is in misery of body, soul and/or spirit.


To truly empathize with another’s distress the expression you share with them that says without words, “I’m so sorry that you are in such agony that all I can do is silently sit and experience it with you.  I do this because, in a measure unique to me, I have shared in your sorrow.”


·         Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.  In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.  (NIV)


Though He slay me


·         Job 13:15-16 "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.  Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.  This also will be my salvation, for a godless man may not come before His presence.”  (NAS)


Why believe in a God that allows such misery on earth?  Job had a perspective and a corner on suffering almost unique.  His larger-than-life experiences with physical pain and torment of soul have been memorialized by all nations.

Job was not a phony; he had an argument with the Creator, and he trusted the Lord enough to be honest with Him.  The affliction he suffered was not commensurate with Job’s righteous life.  He had difficulty understanding why such havoc and wrath had been unleashed upon him.


Job’s words, “"Though He slay me, I will hope in Him,” have been quoted and preached in many a church service.  Oddly, most ministers ignore the rest of Job’s declaration.  In spite of the fact Job trusted in God, or perhaps BECAUSE Job trusted in God, he felt the freedom to say, “Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.”


Have you ever argued with God?  Have you ever blamed God?  Have you ever gotten flat out angry with God?  If so, you are in good company!


·         2 Samuel 6:7-9 And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God.  And David became angry because of the LORD'S outburst against Uzzah, and that place is called Perez-Uzzah to this day.  So David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, "How can the ark of the LORD come to me?" (NAS)


David got angry with the LORD for striking Uzzah dead.  Why would the Almighty kill his servant for simply reaching forth a hand to steady the Ark?  Did God want the Ark to fall to the ground and be damaged?  This event changed David’s outlook, and it affected the way he viewed God from that day onward.


King David named the place “Perez-Uzzah” where his servant was killed; this means, “broken strength.”  Uzzah had tried to use his own strength to steady the ark, and in doing this, he disobeyed the commandment of God.  While his intentions were sincere, what Uzzah did was considered a work of the flesh.  It was a manmade attempt to add to what God Himself was more than able to do.


We often strive to protect God’s Ark in our own strength.  Like Uzzah, we react to circumstances without having taken seriously God’s instruction.  Thus our strength is broken suddenly when we find that the Lord will not bless the work of our hands.


People look at those busy in the house of the Lord and say, “He is always doing God’s work.”  However, just working for God does not exempt us from doing work HIS way.  When God’s anger burns against us for failing to credit Him with sufficiency and strength, we are judged.  


God does not condemn us when He judges us, but His punishment is often very painful.  In times like these we respond as David did, and we are upset and angry with God, even blaming Him for our pain and suffering.  We get confused because of the sorrow heaped upon us by the hand of God, saying, “Lord, here I am, trying MY BEST to steady the church and keep it from falling when I see people stumbling and rather than bless me in this, You pour out your wrath!”


God’s ways are hard to figure out, and quite frankly, His ways are beyond our ability to figure them out!


·         Isaiah 55:7-9 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.  "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.  For {as} the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  (NAS)


When disaster strikes, or calamity becomes the norm, there is no human logic that can explain all of the questions, “Why?”  There are things that, quite frankly, seem to make NO SENSE AT ALL.  Much of our human suffering appears arbitrary and senseless, and much of it is exactly that… senseless.

Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?


·         Job 2:7-10 Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.  And he took a potsherd to scrape himself while he was sitting among the ashes.  Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity?  Curse God and die!"  But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.  Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.  (NAS)


Job’s wife looked at his situation and saw it as senseless and hopeless.  Her husband, once a prominent figure in the community, was now reduced to poverty and a pitiful state of health.  How could anything good come from such ruin and devastation?  She told him to, “Curse God and die!"  She looked at what happened, and it brought out the worst in her.  Her mind saw no purpose or benefit in holding fast to integrity.  Why remain faithful to a God that shows only contempt for His most loyal and upright servants?  Isn’t God supposed to BLESS those who walk blamelessly before Him, as Job did?


Adversity may appear random and senseless, but regardless of its appearance, it is reality.  It is normal human behavior to react in anger and disappointment when calamity strikes.  When a mishap develops into a chronic condition or situation disappointment blurs with the experience of disillusionment. 


Job’s wife was disillusioned and angry.  She is usually ignored in sermons and commentary about this ancient martyr, yet she too lost her home, children and well-being.  One cannot assign blame to her for this emotional outburst.  Job was able to embrace the adversity as though from God, even though his wife had not reached the same point of acceptance yet.


Some Christians who face lifelong hardship never get past the anger towards God for their misfortune.  Job’s trial lasted for a very long time, perhaps over a decade.  The narrative does not reveal the exact time period, but Job lived 140 years AFTER the trial was finished (Job 42:16).


If you lost the ability to walk or use your hands and arms and if you could not talk without searing pain for ten years, how would you handle it?  What if a simple thing like getting dressed or taking a shower, or using the toilet became an agonizing routine every single day?  Would you grow angry and frustrated?  Would you eventually learn to ACCEPT adversity, just the way you had embraced all the good things God gave you?


The only way you can truly know what your response to affliction will be like is to experience it firsthand.  If and when it happens to you, the challenge of choice will be extended to you over and over, and accepting the bad with that which brings pleasure is essential to both survival and personal character growth.


Why Should I Believe In A God Who Doesn't Seem To Help?


There may be multiple reasons to believe in God even when He doesn’t seem to want to provide you with His providence.  Here are the most important reasons to believe:


One day every person faces eternity through death; better to believe in God through His son Jesus, and at least have the assurance of eternal life.  The trials of this life are temporary, even though they may seem to drag on forever.  Faith becomes the reality and evidence of what eternity will one day make vivid and real.


·         2 Corinthians 4:16-5:7 Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  We live by faith, not by sight.  (NIV)


Believing God to help you is better than not believing.  By expressing faith in Him you affirm a positive outlook, and afford the Lord opportunity to honor your trust in Him.  By not trusting in God you have only yourself, your circumstances, or the resources of man to rely on.  Having faith is a positive affirmation, whereas the absence or denial of faith in God inevitably leaves you with only secular declarations; these will NOT sustain you in the darkest hours, especially when facing death.


·         2 Chronicles 14:11-12 Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, "LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you."  The LORD struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled.  (NIV)


When you trust in God in your dire circumstances, you offer hope to others facing similar difficulties.  The only TRUE role model for those whose faith is sorely tested is the perseverance of others they know and respect.


·         1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but {rather} in speech, conduct, love, faith {and} purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.  (NAS)


Believing in God builds character and reliance on someone who is greater than self.  To have faith in God when all hope seems gone molds and shapes a person into one who is meek, humble and full of compassion.


·         James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (NIV)


Faith in God brings hope, and hope is the key element to endurance.  When you believe in God, no matter how bad things get, you can always lay claim to hope.  On the contrary, when things get bad and you deny your faith in the Creator, what kind of hope do you maintain?  Again, this becomes all the more evident when facing death and the eternal.


·         Hebrews 11:1-2, 6 Now faith is the assurance of {things} hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the men of old gained approval… And without faith it is impossible to please {Him} for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and {that} He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.  (NAS)



Believing is better than choosing not to believe…Selah.




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