Some days (weeks, months, seasons, years) I feel hard-pressed. Like life has me between a mortar and pestle and is pounding me into fine dust. I know you can relate.
You sweat and groan and weep and rage and cannot find relief. The intense pressure doesn’t stop. You plead for rescue, yet the vise of life’s circumstances squeezes tighter and tighter until you think you might scream, and sometimes you do.
“Why doesn’t God rescue me?” you cry, and the question echoes back. “Why?”
I believe there are at least nine reasons why God sometimes chooses not to rescue us. If you’re feeling hard-pressed today or know someone who is, I invite you to prayerfully consider these reasons and ask the Lord to show you which might apply to your situation.
Why God Chooses Not to Rescue Us
1. We don’t believe he can
God works in response to faith. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please him. For God to answer our prayers, we “must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Our lack of faith can be a huge hindrance, not because God can’t overrule our faithlessness, but because he won’t. He never forces faith on anyone. Thankfully, all it takes is the faith of a mustard seed to invite God to work in our lives. It’s not how much faith we have, but in whom our faith rests that matters.
2. We have sin in our lives
We cannot willfully choose to disobey God and simultaneously expect him to bless us. As human parents, we withhold blessings from our children when they rebel against us. God often does the same. More important than health, wealth, and happiness is whether we have a right relationship with God. He’ll often use difficult circumstances to help us realize how much we need him.
3. We need to learn to trust him
Our faith begins small and increases with every challenge. Like a muscle, our confidence in God’s power grows stronger the more we exercise it. Trials, heartbreaks, and circumstances beyond our control force us to turn to our all-powerful God. Every time we acknowledge our weakness and see him act on our behalves, our faith grows. Before long, we have a long list of answered prayers that makes it easier and easier to trust him.
4. He knows that a rescue wouldn’t be best
So often we just want OUT of a difficult situation. We’re not interested in what’s best in the long term, we want relief now. I remember when my daughter wore braces. Every month the orthodontist would tighten the wires on her teeth so much that her teeth would ache for days. If you asked her during this painful time if she wanted her braces removed, she would have said, “YES!”
Her orthodontist knew, however, that while taking off her braces would have ended her temporary suffering, it would have interfered with her long-term health. The same is true of many of our trials. The apostle Paul knew this when he wrote, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
5. There’s a lesson we need to learn or a character quality we need to develop through this situation
When my husband lost his job, we learned that God is our provider. When I cared for a baby with colic and another with constant ear infections, I learned patience, kindness, and unselfishness. When I worked with difficult coworkers, I learned to see them through Jesus’ eyes, not my own. Instead of asking Why? when we encounter difficulty, what if we asked What?, as in, What can I learn from this situation?
6. God is
building our faith story so we can one day share what we’ve learned with others
Corinthians 1:3-4 reveals this purpose: “Praise be to the God and Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ … who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can
comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from
God.” Because of the faith valleys I’ve walked, I can truly identify with and
minister to those who have lost a loved one, parented a prodigal, experienced
unemployment, and resurrected a stale marriage. Experiencing
God’s faithfulness during these difficult times has enabled me to say with
certainty, “God will help you.”
7. God is
doing something amazing
You can’t see it right now, but he is working out his purpose in your
situation. Nothing can thwart God’s good purposes for his children. “Eye has
not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things
which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1
8. God is
developing his mind and heart in you
When circumstances press us hard into God’s Word and force us to seek him
for wisdom, faith, grace, and strength, he begins to conform us to his image.
We can’t spend large amounts of time in his presence without starting to think,
act, and love like he does. “And we know that in all things God works for the
good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For
those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his
9. God is
teaching you that a close, personal, spiritual relationship with him is sweeter
and more precious than a happy, healthy, trouble-free, physical life
I experienced a trial years ago greater than anything I’d ever walked
through before. With one phone call, I felt like everything precious to me had
been stripped away. I awakened the next morning feeling like I had nothing left
As I cried, and prayed, and cried some more, Jesus met me there. He wrapped
his big tender arms of love around me and spoke words of hope into my troubled
soul. He spoke words of truth into my reeling mind. He spoke words of love into
my broken heart. And he spoke words of courage into my trampled faith.
My encounter with him was so powerful and real that I will never again doubt
his love, care, and purpose. “It was good for me to be afflicted,” King David
wrote, “so that I might learn your ways,” and I agree. While I would never
voluntarily choose to repeat those dark days, I know God used them to grow my
love for him in ways he never could have otherwise.
“… I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness
of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I
consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians
There are many reasons God chooses not to rescue us from our trials. I’ve
listed a few here to get you thinking. What comforts me in the darkness of
suffering is the knowledge that God is just, God is powerful, and God is good.
I can rest in this, and you can, too.
What about you? Have you come through a journey of suffering only to catch a
glimpse of God’s purpose in the rear view mirror? I’d love to hear about it.
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Written by Lori Hatcher is the author of the newly-released
Hungry for God … Starving
for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women. Like a spiritual power
bar, Hungry for God is the nutrition women need to get through the
Lori knows what it’s like to be busy. And what it’s like to struggle to
make time for God. Her passion is helping women connect with God in the
craziness of everyday life. A Yankee transplant living in Columbia, South
Carolina, Lori uses her speaking and writing ministry to equip and empower
women. She’d love to connect with you on her blog, on Facebook, and
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