What if God’s plan doesn’t want something important to me to go right?

Question: The Bible always says that God will make everything all right in the end, and if something doesn’t go right, it’s because God’s plan says it’s not supposed to go right. I know that’s supposed to make you feel better, but it does the opposite for me. What if God’s plan doesn’t want something important to me to go right? Please help, because this is one of the main reasons why I feel my faith is weak. For some reason, just “trusting the plan” doesn’t make me feel any better.

Answer:  There is an entire book in the Bible devoted to the search for some guarantee that our lives will go right.  It is the book of Ecclesiastes.  The author sought to “gain” a bright future through various means including wisdom and folly.  He discovered that folly is sure to bring pain and misery, but that even wisdom and behaving wisely cannot keep things going right.  And the ultimate proof of that is death.  We’re all going to die.  God will not rescue us from that negative future.  What he finally counsels is to enjoy the happy moments of life but prepare for the unhappy ones, especially death.  And above all, keep God’s commands.
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Is man the only one made in God’s image?

An old man from Tajikistan.

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Question: Genesis 2:7 says that God breathed into the man’s nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Does it say this of any other creation of God?

Answer: It only says that of humans and might lead us to conclude that only humans have a spirit that is in God’s likeness. Animals are said to have spirits (Ecclesiastes 3:21) but not spirits made in God’s image. Being made in God’s image means we have the intellectual, emotional and spiritual capacity to have intimate fellowship with God. Now, of course, that image is marred by our sinful propensity to misuse our gifts in contradiction of God’s will.

If, however, we ask ourselves if there are any other beings in the universe who have the intellectual, emotional and spiritual capacity to have intimate fellowship with God, angels would certainly be an answer. They too have among them those who marred the image and sought to live independently of God. Unlike us, they do not have a sacrifice to pay for their sin and are not said to be redeemable. We are not told all we might want to know about them.

By way of application, the question we might ask ourselves is, “How am I using the gifts God has given me for relationship with him?” I am built for relationship with God, yet I often find pulling away from God easier than drawing near him. What other passions have I let take precedence in my life? What could I do to increase my passion for God? What gifts has he given me that he would use for his glory and my joy if I submitted them to him?

Randall Johnson

Does God send evil spirits to people?

Question: What does 1 Samuel 16:14 mean when it is saying “But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him”?

Answer: There are two possibilities: (1) This is a fallen spirit in league with Satan but being used by God in His sovereign purposes to accomplish his will, though Satan would believe that he is getting his way with Saul. God would be judging Saul by using the evil spirit, whose intent is evil and to destroy Saul, though God’s intent is to move Saul to repentance, if he will receive it. (2) The spirit is a servant of God but what he will accomplish is “evil” in the sense of “not good.” That is, God is sending him for a purpose that is one of divine judgment, not blessing, and that can be termed “evil,” though God’s intent is not to destroy Saul but to lead him to repentance through this chastisement. Saul, and others, however, see it from the perspective only of the pain it brings and so it is termed “evil.” The first option finds a parallel in Job’s experience. The second in a statement like the one found in Ecclesiastes 9:1, “no man knows whether love or hate awaits him,” where it likely means no one knows whether God will bring prosperity into his life or tragedy, termed as love or hate from God.

Randall Johnson