I hear this quite a bit.

I’ve actually seen this take other forms as well, but this is the most common question in my experience.

I’ve also heard it as a regular sentence, such as “God is just…”

That tends to be followed by “…testing us.”

This is where I begin to get a bit perturbed.

You see, I often hear this when someone is sick.  It isn’t the sick person saying this, it is usually some other family member.

I’ve ran into this while working in the hospital. I’ve ran into it while being a pastor.  I’ve ran into at funerals, as well as hospital visits.

I don’t like it for two reasons.

First, it’s a misconception about God.

Secondly, it’s a selfish assumption.

Misconception about God

While there are examples in Scripture of God testing people; those tend to be the exceptions not the norm.  They tend to be types  of afflictions and/or persecutions that lead somewhere.  They prove a point.

Scripture is quite clear that God doesn’t bring stuff onto people arbitrarily, and definitately not out of spite.  Instead, most bad things that happen are biblically understood as the consequences of our actions, possible discipline of God (not a test), or as a direct result of the “World” acting antagonistically against us.

Selfish Assumptions

This is what really gets my goat.  You see, the question is a self-centered question.  Why is God doing this to ME?!

It could be the death of a beloved friend…and the question makes it about me.

It could be the serious illness of a family member…and it makes it about me.

It could be a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or aliens attacking…and it makes it all about me.

It is horribly selfish. 

I just want to take the person, shake them really hard, and tell them: “It’s not about you!”

It’s about our loved one facing that horrible illnes.  It’s about the family, that lost their poor child.  It’s about the spouse, that lost her dear husband.

It. Is. Not. About. Us.

It. Is. Not. About. You.

So please, don’t go there.

Here is the promise that I hold onto.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

In this, there is the expectation that bad things will happen.  It also promises that whatever it is, can be worked around for the good of those that Love the Lord, and are working out of the calling the Lord has upon their lives.

Even if I don’t understand it.

That is the kind of faith I need, when the bad stuff starts happening.  Not blaming God. Not it being about me. But one that trusts he is with us, and working through the situation…even if I can’t see it.

Tim

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