Suffering and God

I'm dying from a terminal illness. I'm frustrated because I believed Jesus would help me. The longer I suffer, the more I doubt. If there is life in heaven after death, why does the Bible say no one praises God from the grave?. A living dog is better than a dead lion? No one has ever been to heaven except the one who came from heaven? Jesus said this. I have lost everything in this life. The more I pray for faith and a relationship with God, the worse I get. Is anything God tells us in his word true? What makes Israel's God different from another society's god? Why do good God-fearing people suffer with no help? Am I not loved by the God I put all of my hope in?

Dear friend, your questions tell me that you need someone to talk to and someone to serve you with God’s word. I trust you have a pastor with whom you are in contact. He will be able to address your questions in more detail than I can.

Here is how I can respond from a distance. Physical death is one of the consequences of sin (Romans 6:23). We will all experience death (Hebrews 9:27) unless the Lord returns visibly to this world in our lifetime.

When it comes to illnesses, the Lord can heal and extend life from our perspective or, in his love and wisdom, he can allow death to take place. In either case, God is working for our good (Romans 8:28). In the latter case, God is bringing about the greatest good possible because he is calling one of his children home.

Psalm 6:5 does state: “Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?” That verse is simply pointing out the contrast between those who are alive on the earth and those who are not. A section of the Bible like Revelation 7:9-17 describes Christians who had died praising God in his presence in heaven.

The verse you cited about a dog and a lion (Ecclesiastes 9:4) simply speaks of the connection of hope to life. Death ends all hope for those who are not connected to Jesus Christ in faith.

Jesus’ words about heaven (John 3:13) mean that only he came from heaven to earth to explain spiritual matters to people. No human being has gone from earth to heaven to acquire that information and then returned to earth to share it.

Everything that God tells you in his word is true (Numbers 23:19; John 17:17). He tells you that your sins have been forgiven (1 John 2:2). He tells you that whoever believes in Jesus has forgiveness of sins and eternal life (John 3:16). He tells you that those who believe in Jesus will live forever (John 11:25), and death cannot separate his children from his love (Romans 8:38-39).

The God of the Bible, the triune God, alone exists (Isaiah 45:5). All other gods are idols. You can trust God—and his power and his wisdom and his love.

Again, I hope you have a pastor with whom you can share your questions and concerns. He will be glad to share the message of God’s word with you. God bless you.