2017 has been a real journey for me of God renewing my mind. Things I've always thought or been taught have been up for debate or put on the chopping block. The latest one has been this big question: Does everything that happens in this world happen for a God-reason? Is it God's will? If God is working all things together for our good, do things happen that aren't God's will?
Let's start with a couple questions. Have you ever noticed how many atrocious things happen in this world? Sometimes they happen on the other side of the globe. But sometimes they happen right in your own home. I wonder how many times we attribute things to God's will when in fact they are directly contradictory to His heart and will? I wonder if people can actually die before their time, before God wanted to call them home.
I know God is sovereign and all-powerful. He is in charge. But He also gives human beings the freedom to choose. Furthermore, there is an enemy called Satan with legions of demons roaming about like lions seeking to steal, kill, and destroy.
So does God always get His way? My best answer: Yes and No.
Yes, God ultimately wins. He conquered our sin, shame, sickness, and death on the cross, and then rose back to life defeating Satan once and for all. BUT… winning a war doesn't mean you win every battle. Can you think of any war in human history where the winner of the war won every single battle along the way?
Let's consider too how Jesus taught us to pray. "Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." That's interesting. If this were already true all the time, why would we need to pray it? Why would Jesus teach us to pray in this way? The only conclusion I can come up with is that in this world God's kingdom does not always come. His will is not always done. This is why He taught us to go be light. To carry His love. To make disciples. To teach and train our children to follow Him. Things are certainly happening here on earth as they are not in heaven.
Is it God's will for acts of racism to take place? Is it God's will for unborn babies to die? Is it God's will for acts of terrorism to cause massive, unnecessary murder?
NO. IT'S NOT. These horrors are completely contradictory to God's heart.
Never once did Jesus condone this kind of behavior. Wherever He went, He healed, brought wholeness, dignity, and corrected sinful behavior. He didn't turn a blind eye to it or say, "Well, I guess it's My Father's will because it's happening."
Friend, we blame too many things on God.
When somebody's baby dies, don't say, "I guess God needed another flower in His garden in heaven." That is completely insensitive and a theological train wreck. It's wrong, unrenewed thinking. We must let the Word of God guide our thoughts, words, and ideas. God does not "need" His children to come home early.
God is not about death, destruction, car accidents, or even "acts of God." Funny how we call them that. Are they acts of God? Or could it be the earth is groaning from the ripple effects of sin? When sin came into the world through Adam and Eve's poor choice, the curse went out and affected everything. Even nature groans and awaits the coming of the King of Kings.
This might sound silly, but every time I see an innocent animal killed on the side of the road, something in me is disturbed. Something in my spirit knows this is not right. Death is not right. It saddens me. Don't you think it saddens the Father too when we act in ways contrary to His goodness and heart? Don't you think it saddens the Father when His creation gets destroyed or killed?
Bill Johnson describes the will of God in this way. Parents are in charge of what goes on in their home. They are the ultimate authority. But sometimes their kids do things they don't approve of. Sometimes siblings fight right in the middle of the grocery store aisle. And it's embarrassing. It's hardly what the parents want. But their kids are not robots. They have minds of their own. Do the kids bad behaviors reflect their parents ultimate desires? Nope. Not even close.
It's the same way on earth. God is in charge. But He doesn't control our every decision. He gives us the freedom to choose. And sometimes we don't choose well at all.
Do I have this whole issue settled? No. I'm still learning and growing. But the more I read over the Lord's prayer, I realize that we The Church, Christ-followers, have a lot of work to do. We need to be about bringing the kingdom of God here on earth. We need to be a part of honoring God's will and bringing it about in our world. When things happen that are contrary to God's good heart, we need to realize it is either the ripple effect of the sin-curse, or it's the enemy himself having a hay-day. "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph. 6:12 NIV)
Stop blaming God for bad things.
I believe one of the biggest ways the devil has duped us is by deceiving us into attributing things to God when they should actually be attributed to the devil. If we think something is from God, why would we rail or pray against it? If sickness is from God, how can you pray for healing? That's a loaded question, I realize. But the short answer is: Sickness is not from God. We have every right to go before The Great Physician and ask for healing. To seek healing and wholeness is to follow Jesus' example, and it is saying, "God, Your will be done here." To passively let cancer, murder, terrorism, or racism parade on without pushing back is to disobey the Father's heart and Jesus' teaching in the Lord's Prayer.
If something does not bear the fruit of the Spirit, let's not attribute it to the Holy Spirit. Let's realize the bad fruit points to a different source and spirit.
Let us say "Father, Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven." And then let's put His will into action, bringing the goodness of God, heaven's reality, into all our spheres of influence.
(Reference points in this blog: 1 Peter 5:8-10, John 10:10-11, James 1:17, 1 John 3:8, Gal. 5:22-23, 1 Thess. 5:9,)