In this video interview with Julia (Stager) Mayo, former EPM staff member, we discuss the question, “Does God purposefully hurt us through trials?”
Julia: What would you say to someone who’s experiencing hard things, some sort of trial, and they believe that God put these things purposefully in their life just to hurt them?
Randy: I would say God doesn’t do that. Now what’s interesting is, I’m not saying God doesn’t bring hard things to us. But interpreting those hard things that a sovereign God allows or brings into our lives as proof that God is being cruel to us is inappropriate. I hear this a lot. I heard someone just the other day say exactly those same things you just mentioned.
What I would say is, go to what Jesus said: “Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:9-11).
God is saying, don’t act as if you’re better than God is. God is the Father who loves His children so much that He went to the cross to shed His blood for them.
Julia: It’s so hard sometimes to see or believe that God is going to bring some good out of these hard things we’re going through.
Randy: Exactly. When the hard things come upon us, we tend to use them as a way of saying, “This is so bad, that if God really is in charge and He sent this to me—or even just allowed this to come into my life—He’s being cruel to me.” The logic goes, If I were all-powerful and all-wise, I would not do such a thing to my child. For me to do that would be cruel. And we say that. We reason that for a parent to put a child through misery, unless that misery is intended to save his/her life (which is sometimes the case), then we would say that would be cruel and wrong.
But what we don’t get is that God is at work in us doing good things through the terrible things that we are experiencing. It’s not cruelty. That’s where faith and trust come in. We need to trust that God knows better than we do, and that He will bring ultimate good, even after the most difficult things that we have to deal with.
Julia (Stager) Mayo holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary. She was previously part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and still does occasional research work for Randy Alcorn.