One of the hardest things for people to come to terms with regarding God is how a loving God can allow such bad things to happen in the world He created. It’s a very difficult thing to reconcile. Even I, as a firm believer in Jesus Christ and His love, struggle with that sometimes. Especially lately, since being diagnosed with Cervical Dystonia. You see, even His children are not exempt from the effects of sin in the world.
At first I thought I might face some judgement from others as a Christian walking around with a brace around my neck. After all, aren’t Christians supposed to be under God’s protection and happy all the time? Bad things don’t happen to true Christians, right? Wrong! All you have to do is read the accounts of the Apostle Paul in the Bible to know better than that. My dad and I were having a conversation one day many years ago and he said to me, “Since becoming a Christian, only good things have happened to you.” I was a little taken aback by his statement, then realized that the only reason he could say that was because he didn’t see all the “bad” stuff. He lived 1700 miles away in another state for most of my adult life and we weren’t terribly close, so I didn’t confide in him. Still, after thinking about it for awhile I came to the conclusion that even the “bad” things weren’t all that bad and they always worked out.
God is the Creator of the universe and at the end of the day, He can do as He pleases. He created us. When was the last time that something you created was able to tell you what to do with it? The great thing is that God loves us and when we choose to love Him back and obey Him, He works in our lives. He has a plan for dealing with all the sin in the world and that plan will be worked out in His timing. In the meantime, we live in a place where men are allowed to make evil choices. A place where there is disease, drought, famine, harsh weather, pain, sorrow, fear, doubt – all the result of sin entering the world when the first humans first disobeyed God.
Also, in the meantime, God provided a way for us to navigate and even flourish in this sinful world through Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. . . . He who believes in Him is not judged; . . . “ –John 3:16, 18a NASB. He has made certain promises to those whom He has given the right to become children of God. One of those promises is to work things out in our lives. Even the bad things. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” -Romans 8:28 NASB. If I have learned anything about God in the 23 years that I have been walking with Him on this journey it’s that He is faithful to His promises.
I don’t always see the results of God’s work in my life right away and sometimes I do. Sometimes I may not see it at all because it was for someone else’s benefit. And sometimes the work God is doing is painful and difficult, BUT He walks through it with me and provides peace and comfort. I don’t pretend to know or understand all the ways in which God works. That is impossible for any of us. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.” –Isaiah 55:8 NASB. I have had enough evidence in my life, however, to know that He is working things out for good. Whether it’s for my good, someone else’s good, or for the good of the kingdom of heaven is solely up to Him and I’m good with that. I trust Him. I don’t always LIKE the way He does things and I don’t have to. Our children don’t always like the way WE do things and they don’t have to either. A parent’s job is not to make their children happy, but to help them grow into the people God created them to be.
I want to be all that God created me to be. Jesus owes me nothing, yet He gave His life so that I and all who trust in Him would be saved from God’s judgement and wrath – that dealing with sin I mentioned earlier. If He never did another thing for me, what He did on the cross was above and beyond anything I could ever imagine that I was entitled to. But He continues to do things for me. He continues to bless me and work my life out for good. He is with me always and He will finish the good work He started in me. One day I will be all that He created me to be. Until that day, I pray that I would always be willing to climb up on the Potter’s wheel and let Him mold and shape me, whatever that means. I want to be a pliable lump of clay. In the Master’s hands I am confident that a beautiful work of art will be the end result.