Someone Like You … might feel like God doesn’t hear you
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me … Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.”
- Psalm 23:4
We are promised in 1 John 5:15 that whatever we ask according to His will, God hears us. He hears our prayers, that much we know from the Bible, our source of truth. But there are a number of biblical reasons why the thing we asked God for may not happen. This is not that discussion. Rather, let’s take a look at why God allows bad things to happen in the first place.
From the beginning of time, since Adam and Eve, death has been a part of life on earth. One out of one of us will – at some point – take our last breath here and move on to whatever is next. The biblical choices are two: Heaven or Hell. The point is to be ready, as no man knows the day or hour of his passing from this life to the next.
That said, everyone wrestles with the most difficult question of all, the one Dawson wrestled with after losing London. The question is simply this: “Why?” Specifically, “Why would a good God allow someone so young to die? Why didn’t He prevent it?”
There is much theological debate on this issue. The Bible clearly says that we have free will and that free will was what allowed London to run across a road without looking. Yes, God could have spared her. He could have created a supernatural moment where the truck stopped in time or where her body wasn’t irreversibly damaged.
But perhaps there was another reason. With God that is always true. If we pray and God’s answer is “No” then we will find peace only when we trust Him and love Him. Trusting God that His ways are better than ours, and believing that He loves us enough to comfort us in our sorrow.
Often in our family we say, “this is just earth”, because in context of eternity, twenty-five years or fifty, or even a hundred years is not very long. The point is to live this life loving God and loving people, ready for whatever each day brings until we transition from this life to the next.
And in “Someone Like You”, when London died, she was ready. She had her questions, but in the end she asked Jesus to catch her. London had grown up with a faith in Christ. The trials of life and the loss of dance, had caused her to step back and take a stand against the things of God. But her heart still knew Him, deep down she still cared. That’s why she had questions in the first place.
Why did God take her home early? Why did He allow her to die even though Dawson had prayed for her? Those are questions we cannot answer this side of heaven except to say God is sovereign. He alone knows and He always knows best. Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work to the good for those who love God. That is difficult to compute from our earthly understanding. But the fact is true, as all of God’s promises are true.
This leads us to the only understanding of such heartbreak. God is not the reason for the pain in the world. He is the rescue. And as Dawson, and London’s parents – Larry and Louise – held onto that promise and the comfort of each other, eventually they began to heal.
Tragedy is never expected and always devastating. It is in those moments that we most need the love of God and each other. Rather than wonder why, it is times like this when we are best to accept what is and ask God what is next. How do we go on? Why are we still here? We may not have answers as to why something tragic happens, but we can lean in toward God, rather than away from Him. We can accept His comfort and compassion. He hears and He will answer so long as our hearts are turned to Him.
Even when we pray the prayer of utter heartbreak.
If you are able, share about a tragic time in your life. Did you feel your prayers were unheard or unanswered? Explain.
In the time since then, have you leaned toward God or away from Him? How has that shaped your life?
What is your perspective on that tragic time now?
What advice would you give someone going through a tragedy of their own?
I Can Do That:
Journal about a time of tragedy in your life. Address your questions about God then and how you feel about that now.
Think of someone in your life who is dealing with tragedy or loss. Write them a letter, offering love and support without directions they should take.
Invite that person to coffee and let them talk. Remember, James 1:19 tells us to be slow to speak and quick to listen. Sometimes people merely need someone to listen.