Article | Missions magazine

A Faithful Creator

Apr 16, 2024

By Eric Barton

When a believer shares the Gospel with an unbeliever, the topic of suffering commonly arises. Some familiar questions include: Why do bad things happen to good people? If God is good and all powerful, then why does He allow evil? Is God punishing me because of my sin? While some of these questions are easy to answer, others are more difficult. And, in some cases, we may have no answer at all—not because one is nonexistent but because we share the same doubt and concern.

Yes, these types of questions are not unique to the unbeliever. Eventually, we all face adversity that stretches us to the breaking point. And, in that moment, we may be tempted to enter into the same state of doubt as the disciples in Mark 4:35–41. When faced with a great windstorm on the Sea of Galilee, our Lord slept quietly in the stern. In contrast, the disciples were afraid and awoke the Lord asking, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 

Shamefully, I have asked the same question. So what are we to do when faced with such unbelief in our lives? We can look to a few essential truths in our time of need:

God’s Word

According to Mark 4:35, our Lord Jesus prompted His disciples to sail the Sea of Galilee, plainly stating, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Despite the storm, He and the disciples crossed successfully, just as He had said. The lesson is clear: God’s Word is trustworthy and provides the perspective we need when emotions run wild. When the Father of Lies whispers, “God doesn’t care,” God’s Word proves otherwise. And, when we can’t find our way, His Word points true north. 

God’s character

Unlike us, God never changes. Regardless of our circumstances, He has been and always will be merciful, gracious, long-suffering, abounding in goodness and truth, and forgiving (Exodus 34:6–7). As the source of perfect love, He is patient and kind. He lavishes us with promises to lean on in times of trouble and has proven Himself faithful to fulfill them. His ways are never arbitrary; He always acts with purpose (John 9:1–5). When He bruises, He also binds up, and His wounds are ever faithful (Job 5:18; Proverbs 27:6).

God’s sovereignty

As sovereign of the universe, God has the right to do as He pleases. However, His sovereignty never acts apart from His character. As such, what He permits and does are always for His glory and our good. This truth also means nothing can touch us without His permission (Job 1–2). And, in His wisdom, He understands that suffering equips us for greater service, refines our character, and brings Him much glory (2 Corinthians 1:3–7; Isaiah 48:10; Romans 5:3–5; 1 Peter 4:12–14).

Accomplishing what He loves

Suffering characterized the Lord Jesus’s life, and we are likely to become acquainted with it too. It is a necessary part of our spiritual growth. While things won’t always make sense, one thing is certain: our faithful Creator never leaves nor forsakes us. 

What’s more, how we suffer is a message itself. To a dying world looking on, there is no greater gospel message than a life of genuine faith devoted to the praise, honor, and glory of Jesus Christ while passing through the fire (1 Peter 1:7). 

But should our faith falter after we have suffered awhile, we need only cry out to the Lord and confess, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) In doing so, we give the God of all grace the opportunity to perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle us (1 Peter 5:10). 

Let me leave you with something Steve Estes said to his friend Joni Eareckson Tada after her diving accident and subsequent hospitalization. As Joni struggled to make sense of her suffering, Steve simply said: “God permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves.”1 May it be so in our lives also. 

Eric Barton is a CMML director.

Originally published in Missions magazine, April 2024. For more content, sign up for a free subscription (US) to Missions at