The following are answers to questions asked by a then-12 year old girl. This young lady had had a very, very difficult life, but was very bright and determined. At the time she wrote the note to me asking these questions, she had only recently come to live with her father – a godly man. Now twenty-something, she has grown into a beautiful and sharp young woman.
She has given her permission to use our correspondence for this post.
1. Why do people look so depressing, sad, and miserable when we pray?
This is a good question. There is no good reason to be sad & miserable when we pray, but I think you are right that sometimes we look that way.
I guess the reason is that people want to be reverent, or to be serious, when they approach our Holy God. This is a good thing, since the Bible calls us to “Fear the Lord”. (Deuteronomy 6:13; Proverbs 9:10) BUT, if Christians do not have joy as they pray, then they are forgetting that God loves us; that He is our Father, and wants us to come to him with joy & thanksgiving. We are unbalanced between Fearing God & Loving God.
2. Why does God choose some people, but not all, to spread His Word?
I am guessing that you have two questions combined here.
First, Why does God not call everyone to be a Christian? The answer is that everyone is to hear the call to follow Christ, but only those God chooses are able to become Christians. Why does he choose some but not others? We don’t know.
Second, Why are not all Christians called to spread his Word? The answer: All are called to spread his Word, by teaching and by our actions. Some are called to spread his Word to other countries. Some are called to spread his Word by preaching in the church. Some to spread it by teaching Sunday school. Others are called to spread it to their friends, neighbors, and family. Not everyone does it, but all are called to spread the Word somewhere & somehow.
3. Why did God flood the earth when not everybody was being bad?
Romans 3:10 and 3:23 tell us that there is no one who is good. This is difficult to hear, but it is true. It is also important to help understand my answer to your question.
If you read Genesis 6:5 it says “The Lord saw …man’s wickedness…” There was no one good on the earth, everyone was being bad. Romans 6:23 says: “The wages of sin is death.” This means that anyone & everyone who sins deserves death – in this case by drowning in a flood.
In Genesis 6:8-9 it says “Noah found favor in God’s eyes…” and “…he walked with God”. This does not mean that Noah was perfect, and that he was not doing bad – though he was better than most men. (Remember Romans 3:23 “All sinned… fall short of the glory of God.”) That he “found favor in the eyes of the Lord” means that God chose to love him even though he was a sinner. Genesis 6:9 says: “Noah was a righteous man”… this means that he believed in God, and trusted God for his salvation. Noah did not believe he was good enough, and knew he needed God’s grace. (Romans 1:17 tells us that righteousness comes by faith. Hebrews 11:6 says: “Without faith it is impossible to please God…”)
Now the great thing about this is that God does the same thing with us. You & I, and everyone else, are sinners. We may be better than many people, but we are still not perfect like God wants us to be.
But read Romans 5:6-8… Is that great or what?!!
The important thing, though, is to believe what God has provided for our salvation from his punishment. For Noah it was the Ark, but really it was a Savior. For us (and for Noah, too, really) it is Jesus – a person not a boat!
Read 1 John 5, and it shows the importance of believing & trusting in Jesus for our salvation and forgiveness of our sin.
(A guy named Fritz Ridenhour has written a cool book for teenagers, How to Be a Christian Without Being Religious. It is about all this Romans stuff. I have a copy if you want to borrow it from me.)
4. Why does God make some peoples’ lives worse than others?
This is a difficult question, and I am so sorry that you have had some very hard things happen in your life. But the best way I can answer this is in two ways.
First, sin is in this world and hurts people –both those who sin and those they sin against. It will continue to hurt people until Jesus returns to take us with Him. This does not mean that God does not love us or care for us, or that he will not protect us. He does, and He shows it all the time. But what he also does is remind us that someday soon he will take us where there is no sin.
Look at it this way, before your Dad had you with him, he loved you, and cared for you. He gave you some good times, even though some bad things were happening around you. But he also told you that he wanted you to live with him. Even before you got to live with him you had both good & bad times. You looked forward to when you could be with him, and this gave you hope. Now that you have moved in with him many of the bad things are away from you. God continues to give us this same type hope when he reminds us of heaven – except all bad things will be away from us in Heaven. Until then our lives will be mixed with good and bad.
Why are some worse than others? That I do not know. The book of Job is a good example of your question, but God does not totally answer it. God simply says we should trust him, because we know He is good.
Second, some of our hardships come from decisions we make. There are consequences to our actions. If you commit a crime, you may go to jail. If unmarried teenagers are sexually active a pregnancy may result.
But even the consequences to our own actions are not all bad. Hebrews 12:6 says: “The Lord disciplines those He loves.” And please read 1 Peter 1:3-9 for encouragement.