Monday, November 16, 2009

Does Everything Happen for a Reason? (1)

If you have ever been severely sick, faced a life-threatening illness, or been in a major crisis, you have two choices: keep it private or go public with family and friends.

Going public has its risks. People will give you pamphlets, books, articles, web sites, special diets, supplements, and “how-to” advice that is supposed to bring healing, slow down the sickness, reverse the disease, or fix the crisis. All of this information also contains the subtle message: “If you had followed this advice earlier, you wouldn’t be in the jam you are in now.”

Save the advice. The apostle Paul knew what he was talking about when he said, “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). People need compassion, not advice in times like that.

The most disconcerting thing about going public in a crisis is all the unsolicited “happy talk” you get from well-intentioned, but often misguided, Christians who will try to assure you that your tragedy is really a blessing in disguise from God. I have been told:
  • "God doesn't make mistakes"
  • You must be very special for God to trust you with this"
  • "Won't it be great to see how God uses this?"
  • "This is happening for a reason"

When my father was dying with cancer, one lady prophesied to him that God was going to heal him and that he would get well. He didn’t. I conducted the funeral and can't even remember if this lady even attended.

You never know how to respond to those kinds of comments. If my tragedy is really a blessing, (like they say), I’m willing to take a pass. I also notice that none of the people who are quick to proclaim my crisis as a blessing from God seem to be very eager to get blessed the same way in their own life.

I recognize that God is in control. He rules the universe and is Lord. Ultimately He is in control of, and is aware of, all the events that take place in my life. Plus He is good, and that brings me immeasurable reassurance. But that doesn’t mean that He is the direct cause of everything bad that happens in my life. Sometimes my wounds are self-inflicted. Sometimes they are inflicted by others. Sometimes bad things happen to me for no other reason than the fact that I live in a fallen world that is full of sin, sickness, hurt, pain, suffering and dying. There is no divine conspiracy; it is simply the consequence of my environment.

Does "everything" happen for a reason? No, not everything. Sometimes life just happens. And it's good to know that God is always there no matter what.

Don't blame God for everything. God didn’t cause Lucifer to rebel, Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, or David to sleep with Bathsheba. He did not cause Cain to kill Able, the tower of Babel to be built, or force the crowd to cry out for Barabbas. No. Those who carried out these evil deeds bear full responsibility for their actions. They can’t blame God.

Adam tried. It didn’t fly. You can look it up.

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