Why Does God Intervene Sometimes And Not Others?

Q. I have been a believer for 27 years. Something has been on my mind for a long time and have never had the guts to ask. But here goes. In the case of rape, murder, abuse, etc. it seems God sometimes intervenes and sometimes He doesn’t. I know God loves both the victim and the criminal with a love we can never understand this side of eternity. Can you please help me understand why it’s OK for Him to stop attacks like this sometimes and not others?

A. Lamentations 3:22 says the Lord’s compassions never fail and according to Hebrews 13:8, Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever. That means He’s not arbitrary, intervening sometimes and not others without any apparent reason. Therefore, there have to be other factors involved that are currently not under His control, because He certainly didn’t create the world this way.

Think about it. Jesus didn’t say we’d never be sick, but He promised we could be healed (James 5:15). He said we would have troubles in this world, then told us to take heart because He’s overcome the world (John 16:33). He also said He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). I take the phrase all things to mean everything, good or bad.

So what are these other factors? Well, first of all there’s our fallen creation which is currently under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19). Because of this we live in an evil and arbitrary world, where even the innocent are often attacked. But it’s worse than that. According to 1 Peter 5:8 the devil is always prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Then there’s our sin nature that can place us outside of God’s protective power without us even being aware of it until it’s too late. And sometimes our faith is so weak that even in asking for help we make it obvious we don’t believe we’ll get it. James called this being double minded and said we shouldn’t expect anything when we pray like that (James 1:6-8). Put all this together and it’s a wonder God is able to intervene as often as He does.

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