It’s annoying when you pray for your favorite football team and they still lose.

But when you pray for the healing or safety or a parent or a child or a spouse, and God doesn’t seem to answer that prayer, it’s more than excruciating.

Theologians and internet trolls alike disagree on the “why” of unanswered prayer.  Especially for horrific situations that only a few seem to have to go through.

My pastoral answer to the whole problem is “I don’t know.”   I don’t know why God seems to heal some people and allow others to die.   I don’t know why the best people seem to have the worst circumstances, and the worst people seem to have the best circumstances, at least sometimes.

But I do know that God cares, that He is good, and there will come a day–here or in eternity–when it makes more sense.  I don’t know how–or where–God draws the line between the free will He leaves a world of sinful messed up people, and His sovereign ability to intervene, control and prevent.

He leaves us (and those around us) the ability to chose.   He could have taken away our ability to chose and made us all mindless robots that automatically loved and served Him no matter what.   But then we wouldn’t be human at all.   Instead He leaves us all choice, and with that choice comes a freedom.   Sometimes those around us abuse that freedom, and choose to hurt us or themselves.

If you’re angry at God, take that anger to God.   If you’re confused, take that confusion to God.  If you feel like He’s never even there, or maybe never was to begin with, tell Him that.

I’m a pastor and I don’t always feel close to God.  I know of nothing in the bible that requires me to always feel close to God.   But God is always there, and He’s stronger than our feelings, which vary wildly day by day.