Where did the church ever get the idea that God would be in the prevention business? Look at the stories of Noah and the ark, Joseph in Egypt, Moses crossing the Red Sea, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lion’s den, Jesus on the cross – what do you consistently see played out in those stories? God doesn’t prevent the flood; He gets Noah through it. God doesn’t keep Joseph from being sold into slavery or falsely accused of rape; He remains with Joseph while he is in Egypt and helps him gain favor, then turns his presence there for good. God doesn’t magically transport Moses and the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt like something out of Star Trek; God walks with Israel through the Red Sea and makes a way for them to be free. God doesn’t keep Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego out of the furnace; He walks in the furnace with them. God doesn’t prevent Daniel from being thrown into the lion’s den, even though the reason Daniel was in trouble was for honoring God; He shows up in the lion’s den and stays by Daniel’s side to protect him, comfort him, and help him.
Finally, and most significantly, God does not send legions of angels down to wage war on the Roman and Jewish leaders, and whisk Jesus away from the terrible suffering of the cross. Jesus goes to the cross to save His children from the clutches of the enemy and the consequences of sin, descends into hell to battle against the enemy, and brings life from death to establish His Kingdom on earth and in our hearts. God does not prevent or cause bad things happening. God is our partner, our healing and helping presence, and our redeemer in the midst of the bad things that happen. May we pray for God’s partnership with us, His presence to walk through difficulties with us, and His redemption of our painful circumstances.