Q: A close friend of mine just told me she has incurable cancer. Why would God do this to her? I don’t know anyone who is kinder or more thoughtful. It’s really hit me, and it just doesn’t seem fair. — D. McK.
A: No, it doesn’t seem fair; much of what goes on in the world isn’t fair or good or happy. Centuries ago Job (who knew what it meant to experience suffering that just didn’t seem to make sense) penned these words: “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7).
Nor are tragedies like the one your friend is experiencing understandable — not completely, and not this side of eternity. I suppose I’ve asked myself thousands of times why God permits terrible things like this to happen, and I don’t know the answer, not fully. We live in a fallen, imperfect world that has been corrupted by sin, and we all share in its brokenness. But we still wonder why bad things happen, although we know God is still in control, even if evil sometimes seems to be winning.
When bad things happen, however, we can do one of two things: We can either be angry with God, or we can turn to him in trust and faith. But anger only leaves us bitter and hopeless. May you and your friend turn instead to Christ, and find in him the comfort and strength you need.
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Remember: By his death and resurrection Christ conquered death, and now he offers the gift of salvation to all who put their trust in him. May the Psalmist’s words become yours: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. … and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:4, 6).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.