Why do bad things happen to good people? Why are some people spared, while others must endure? Many persons have suffered this year from the pandemic, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, forest fires and other disasters.
The Savior Jesus Christ said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16: 33 in the Bible). The Apostle Paul declared, “…that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14: 22 in the Bible). Earth life was designed to be a test for the sons and daughters of God. We are being tested to see if we will develop faith, keep the commandments of God and endure adversity and challenges.
Paradise California Fires
“In November 2018, fire raced through the town of Paradise so rapidly that there wasn’t time for most people to do anything but get out. When it was all over, 95 percent of the town was destroyed. More than 11,000 homes had burned to the ground. ‘But it’s really just stuff that went away,’ Doug Danz said months later as he walked through the ruins of what was once his home. ‘I’m still me. I still know what I know. I still have all my wonderful growing-up experiences. None of that is gone. It’s all still inside of me. I just hope this experience is refining me and making me better.’ One said, ‘We’re used to helping others, but we’re not so used to having others help us, especially people we don’t even know. So many have stepped up. How do you thank them all?’’
“The Australian bushfire season between June 2019–March 2020 is now sometimes referred to as ‘Black Summer.’ At times it seemed the entire continent was ablaze. Braden Murrin and his family live on bush property completely surrounded by trees. When the fires came through, they were in danger of losing everything.
‘Getting my family out to safety was my top priority,’ Braden said. ‘We packed up as much as we could and evacuated.’ During one month, flames approached the Murrins’ property three times. The first time, the wind changed and blew the fire in another direction. The second time, the wind changed and firefighters stopped the fire.
The third time, Braden said, ‘I saw two big flashes of lighting and heard the loudest thunder I had ever heard.” It started to rain, which dampened the ground and once again stopped the fire from coming onto the property.
“I know we have been blessed and watched over,’ Braden said. ‘I can only put this down to the prayers of family and friends… and the fasting of members.’ ‘Before the area-wide fast, there was no rain in the forecast for months,’ Ian Carroll said. ‘But after the fast, it rained nonstop. Our gutters overflowed and dams rose enough for stock to drink.’ One critical morning, he received a call from a fire coordinator. ‘We need your prayers, right now!’ ‘Winds were pushing flames over the last hill, putting them within a quarter mile (0.4 km) of populated areas. As embers landed around homes, the church leader (Clare) sent a message to the members, then found a quiet room and prayed himself. When Clare called back and asked for an update, he received good news. ‘The wind shifted,’ the fire coordinator said. ‘It seems the fire has just stopped!’ After a Sunday community fast and prayer, with no rain in the forecast, the community witnessed unexpected rain and a rainbow filled the sky.”
Fasting Linked with Frequent Prayer
Fasting is going without food and drink for a period of time accompanied with frequent heart-felt personal and family prayer to draw ourselves closer to our Heavenly Father and the Savior Jesus Christ. This can be done especially when we are faced with challenges we cannot solve without divine help. For major challenges the Savior said, “And he said unto them, this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9: 29 in the Bible). The apostle Paul in writing about all the challenges and suffering he went through he said he fasted often.
(See 2 Corinthians 11: 27 in the Bible)