One thing I know for sure after reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is that God created this world without sin and that He will recreate it at the end of days and eliminate sin. It’s in the in between time that I have more questions.
My questions are mainly about the effects of the fall. What do I do about the sin (my own choices, the behavior of evil men, or the effects of the fall in nature) I encounter every day? It may be my personal sin (e.g., my personal goals of achieving led me to unnecessarily injure my hip) or the reality that sin has filtered down through mosquitos and stomach issues in a foreign country (my present personal effect of sin that I did not choose). How does God want us to pray? How does God want us to look at the results of sin that we are faced with?
When it comes to the problems caused by my personal sin, I don’t hesitate to ask for God’s deliverance even when it was my own fault. For example, I acknowledged my pride and foolishness in pushing my almost sixty-year-old body to follow my twenty-something video yoga teacher (who was once an Olympic competitor). I was at fault, but I also wanted God’s healing. I placed my hands on my hips and told God that I am thankful for this lesson revealing my pride and that I needed His help to respect my body more, but would He please heal the consequences of my pride? He was more than gracious and is continuing to heal me through, prayer, rest, and ice. In my opinion, it never hurts to ask God for His help even when you know that it is totally your fault. As a loving Father, He will allow you to face some consequences, but they will be much less and even helpful if you turn to Him in prayer and learn a lesson from your sin.
The real dilemma is when the sin you ask delivering from is not at all your fault and God Himself has allowed it to bring about the best for others even if it causes a lot of suffering on earth. When Joseph was taken into slavery, false accusations, and prison; don’t you believe he was praying for deliverance? How long did it take him to realize that all of it was God’s plan to save his family as he told his brothers in Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” How many years did he spend praying for relief from suffering before he understood what God was doing?
It’s much easier for Jesus Himself to see God’s goodness even amid evil. When Peter asked him to fight the evil from the soldiers ready to arrest and crucify Him, Jesus knew this evil was God’s will and didn’t even ask for God’s help to stop it. Rather He instructed Peter: “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matthew 26:52-54)
Obviously, that was true. Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection totally changed the impact of sin’s power over the world.
As for me, I will always ask God for rescue, whether I need it due to my own sinful choices or the results of the sin of evil men. I won’t delay asking for God’s help, and I will also accept that God’s lack of rescue is a journey into deeper faith and trust that in the end it will all be well. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:18: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”