This week at CLC we considered an alternative to the bad spiritual advice, “Everything happens for a reason.” Chapter six of “God, Where are You?” suggests four possible causes for everything that happens:
- God causes much that happens in this world. Unlike some modern day Christianity that portrays Him as a “grandfather in Heaven,” God is not just about our comfort, convenience, and happiness. He creates, protects, judges, heals, tests, and forgives (to name a few).1 Peter 1: 6-9 and Psalm 11:5 make it clear that God uses hardship to help grow us into contagious representations of Jesus Christ. The message made it clear that God does NOT cause everything. Jeremiah 19: 4-5 is a great example. In it, God says He didn’t even THINK of some of the hideous evil the ancient Israelites did.
- Our fallen planet is responsible for much of what we experience in our daily lives (see Romans 5:12 and 8:20-22). We need not question “Why?” to much of the disease, evil, and suffering in life. They are simply the by-product of sin unleashed by man’s fall in the beginning of creation.
- Human choice accounts for much of life in the form of consequences, both good and bad. The book and sermon series emphasize that God places a premium on “free will.” This is in part because we are created “in His image.” Since God is a “self-directing, consequence-creating, environment-altering being,” we are the same. Rarely does God veto our free will (even though sometimes I wish He would). A frequent answer to “Why something happened in life” is quite simply, “Because you or someone choose so, that’s why.”
- Satan also can cause evil and pain in life. Unlike the humorous routine of the late comedian “Flip Wilson,” whose character Geraldine used to claim “The Devil made me do it,” Satan’s greatest tool is the power of tempting suggestions. James 1:13-15 makes it clear that it is our yielding to his efforts that causes us so much pain and regret.
The question you must answer in light of these four causes is, “What are you going to say when bad things happen or prayers seem to go unanswered?” (Although chapter three gave five frequent answers we often overlook).
The Apostle Paul asks this question in Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things?” Stop doubting God, asking anguished “Why” questions and living in a state of disillusionment, panic, or disbelief. Jesus promised we would have trouble in this life (John 16: 33) and that each day has plenty of trouble of its own (Matthew 6: 34).
Paul offers the answer to this rhetorical question. He confidently asserts, “If God be for us, who can be against us!” The trials of life are not meant to destroy or disillusion us, but to grow us in our faith, and closer to God.
For an in-depth consideration of hopeful and Biblically-sound alternative explanations to what “causes” bad stuff, watch the message online in the CLC sermon archives and get your copy of “God, Where Are You?” from the publisher (CreateSpace) or Amazon.