As I have started typing this, there is one miner left to be rescued from the mining tragedy and by the time I finish, the last one would have reached the surface. As many of them were rescued, they visually showed their gratitude to God for delivering them. I for one was very grateful to God for his mercy in allowing these miners to survive after over two months
But non christians, legitimately ask the question ‘its OK for you to thank God in these situations, but where is God in situations like the Burma tragedy or the Minneapolis Bridge? Or where is God when a child dies of cancer or as a result of an idiot drinking and driving? Why dont we thank God then?
Early on in my Christian walk, even though I knew that being a christian wasnt a bed of roses, there was certain things that I didn’t expect to happen to us? I mean, no weapons formed against us should prosper….right? We are the head and not the tail….right? We shouldnt go though sickness or poverty….right? That’s not our portion…..right? But over time, I have recognised that things are not so straight-forward. The reality is, christians go through exactly the same things that non christians go through. We die of illnesses prematurely and so do our young children. We are victims of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. I’m sure there were christians who died in the Twin Towers on 9/11. We go through marital problems are sometimes the victim of circumstances through no fault of our own. Read Luke 13:1-5 for an example. We may pray for a child to be healed and they still die. That’s just life. Preachers sometimes give people false hopes, or deceive them with false promises that disappoint many times and leave people disillusioned with God.
So how do we explain all of this? I have come to the conclusion that there is no set rules, where bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to ‘good people’. Ultimately, God is sovereign and he does things when he wants and how he wants. You may ask, well if that’s the case, whats the use in praying? If I am honest, I have asked that question many a time and have sometimes struggled with it and to this day, I do not have a complete answer even though it has partly be answered in my post Prayer and Predestination. What I do know though is that I can trust in my heavenly Father and the more I know him, the more I can depend on him, knowing more about his character and knowing that he sees the bigger picture even when I cannot see it with my finite mind. I am limited and he is limitless. My children may not like my discipline or the rules that I give them and they may even see me as a moany ogre but I see the bigger picture so that hopefully in the future, they will learn some of the life skills that I have taught them which will hopefully help them to be responsible adults in the future. And in having a relationship with them, they should know that my character is not to bring harm to them but to bring fruitfulness in them.
Sometimes we want a reason why things are the way they are. Jesus’s disciples asked the same question in John 9
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life
In the story of Lazarus in John 11:1-45, Martha in verse 21, could not understand why God, who she knew was able, allowed Lazarus to die. Lazarus’s family prayed but Jesus delayed it so that Lazarus would die so that he would get maximum glory out of the situation. He didn’t just want to perform a healing. He wanted to perform a resurrection. This turns our man centered theology on its head because it’s not primarily about us but IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM.
Today is a milestone in my life as it’s my 40th birthday and I am thankful to God for allowing me to see another year. I am thankful to God for everything that he has taught me even though some of it was VERY painful. Some of it was self-inflicted, some of it was inflicted by others and some of it was just life. I have not always understood why God allowed me to experience some of the things that I did but it has definitely shaped my character. What does the future hold for me in the next 40 years (God willing)? I have no idea. No doubt some of it will be painful. Some of it, I will not understand and there may be times that I might even be upset with God. But I know that God holds my future and in this fallen world, he is my ONLY hope and I can depend on him to know what’s best for me.
I will leave you with some lyrics from Trip Lee’s song Cling to you
Lord, it may get better but it may not
So when I pray God, I pray I
Would trust You whether or not the pain stops
So when the pain falls, coming down like rain drops
I just gotta cling to You