The Bible’s Viewpoint
Should Christians Expect Divine Protection?
The Bible often refers to God’s ability to protect his worshipers from harm. King David said: “Rescue me, O Jehovah, from bad men; may you safeguard me even from the man of deeds of violence.” (Psalm 140:1) Today many of God’s worshipers who have been faced with violence, crime, or natural disasters have just barely escaped death or injury. Some have wondered whether God provided them with miraculous protection on those occasions, especially since there are other instances when God-fearing people have not escaped but have experienced great tragedies, even a violent death.
DOES Jehovah God protect some individuals from harm but not others? Should we expect to receive miraculous deliverance from violence and disasters today?
Miraculous Protection in Bible Accounts
The Bible contains numerous accounts in which God miraculously intervened in behalf of his worshipers. (Isaiah 38:1-8; Acts 12:1-11; 16:25, 26) The Scriptures also relate how on other occasions Jehovah’s servants were not delivered from calamity. (1 Kings 21:1-16; Acts 12:1, 2; Hebrews 11:35-38) Obviously, then, Jehovah can decide to provide protection for a particular reason or purpose whenever he chooses. Hence, when individual Christians are not delivered from trials, they should not conclude that God has deserted them. We have to accept the reality that bad things will happen, even to faithful servants of Jehovah. Why is this the case?
Why Bad Things Happen to Faithful Servants of God
One reason is that all of us inherited sin and imperfection from Adam and Eve. Thus, we face the prospect of pain, suffering, and death. (Romans 5:12; 6:23) Another reason is that we are living in the last days. The Bible describes people in our day as “having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Evidence of this is the prevalence of rape, kidnapping, murder, and other brutal crimes.
Many faithful servants of God live and work among violent people and at times become their target. We may find ourselves in a life-threatening situation simply because of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Moreover, we experience the reality expressed by Solomon when he stated that “time and unforeseen occurrence befall them all.”—Ecclesiastes 9:11.
Additionally, the apostle Paul stated that Christians would be the object of persecution because they worship God. He said: “In fact, all those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12) In recent years this has proved true in a number of countries.
Therefore, God-fearing people are not exempt from the effects of violence, crime, natural disaster, or accidental death. Satan has tried to use the argument that Jehovah puts a hedge around His people so that they go through life unscathed. (Job 1:9, 10) That is not the case. We can, however, be certain that even when Jehovah does not provide miraculous deliverance from a situation, he does give his people protection.
How Jehovah Protects His People Today
Through his Word, Jehovah provides divine guidance that protects his people. Spirituality and Bible knowledge can impart good judgment and soundness of mind to us, which can help us to avoid unnecessary mistakes and to make wise decisions. (Psalm 38:4; Proverbs 3:21; 22:3) For example, heeding the Bible’s advice on sexual morality, greed, anger, and violence has spared Christians from many calamities. Also, by not having intimate association with bad people, we are less likely to be where calamity may strike—in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Psalm 26:4, 5; Proverbs 4:14) Those who live by Bible principles enjoy a superior way of life, often resulting in better mental and physical health.
Most comforting is the knowledge that even if God allows bad things to happen, he will provide his worshipers with the necessary strength so that they can bear it. The apostle Paul assures us: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) The Bible also promises “power beyond what is normal” to help us endure calamities.—2 Corinthians 4:7.
God Does According to His Own Will
Should Christians expect God to rescue them miraculously in every case of impending disaster? The Bible record does not support such an expectation.
Of course, Jehovah God could choose to intervene directly in behalf of any of his servants. And if anyone believes that he has escaped harm by divine intervention, he should not be criticized. But when Jehovah chooses not to intervene, it should never be taken as a sign of his displeasure.
May we have the confidence that no matter what trial or situation we face, Jehovah will provide divine protection for his faithful servants, either by removing the situation, by giving us the strength to endure it or, if we die, by resurrecting us to everlasting life in his new world.—Psalm 37:10, 11, 29; John 5:28, 29.