I think that one of the more difficult aspects of going through a trial is not only wondering why it is happening, but also wondering why it is not happening to someone else. Perhaps suffering would be a wee bit easier to deal with if it were distributed equally to everyone. But it’s not.
And in those times where multiple people go through similar trials, there’s no guarantee that the outcomes will be the same. Two people can pray about the same trial, and God may give two different answers. One person, stricken with cancer, may regain their health, while another passes away. One couple’s marriage is saved, while another ends in divorce. One couple’s dream of conceiving a child comes to pass, while another couples struggles through failed fertility treatments. One person receives a dream job offer, while another is turned down for one job after another. One person’s house sells in a day, while another’s languishes on the market for months without an offer.
I don’t have an answer for why God chooses to bring healing or breakthroughs to some people and not to others. To our limited human vision, it’s not fair. Especially when the people praying are all good, godly people who love God and want to serve and glorify Him.
I can’t explain it. But I do know a few things to be certain. One is that, no matter what the outcome of our trials, God will be glorified through them. In some cases, He is glorified through the answered prayer. In other cases, He is glorified in the way we react when we don’t get the answers we desperately want.
Something else I know: our happiness is not God’s priority. He is concerned with making us more like Him, drawing us closer to Him. Sometimes that means that we go through trials that seem unbearable, in order to learn true dependence on Him.
One more thing: we are right, much of what happens in our lives isn’t “fair”. But what is truly fair–is it fair that Jesus took the burden for our messed-up, sinful lives so that we could live with Him in Heaven forever? Is it fair that God has promised to never leave us or turn His back on us, even when we are unfaithful to Him?
I don’t know about you, but I am thankful that God does not treat us “fairly”. I am so undeserving of His grace and mercy. When I go through trials, it’s easy to forget that, and to focus on myself and on what I feel is “unfair” about the situation. It’s tempting to look at others around me who seem to have happy, richly blessed lives and compare what they have versus what I have. But I am thankful for the reminder that God treats me infinitely better than I deserve. As His child, I am incredibly blessed. I don’t deserve it. I want to live a life that never forgets it.