Friday, May 7, 2010

If you're having trouble, join the club!

"If I make it, I'm a good man. 
Am I a bad man if I fail?"
- "Man of God" by Audio Adrenaline

A family adopted a child, and the child was out of control, and the family had a lot of trouble.  Eventually, the mother came to a conclusion.

"Looking back," she said, "I see that God
was not in that adoption.  It was us.  
We were going against God's will."

This statement gives me pause for at least a couple of reasons.
  1. God commands us to care for widows and orphans.  This oft-repeated statement (Old Testament and New Testament) would thus seem to be God's will for us.
  2. Just because troubles arose from the decision to do what God commanded, that means it's not God's will?  So unless we have smooth sailing, we aren't in God's will?  So if bad things happen to us, it's because we're not in God's will?  Really?  Is that seriously how we think?
I don't think God tries to trick us.  If He tells us something is His will, or if He tells us to do something, I would like to believe that if we do it, we are doing His will.  Is that wrong for me to think?

Job said: "Should I accept the good from God
and not the ill?"  

(Let's forget for a moment where he went after that with the help of his friends . . .)

And here's another one: 

"The rain falls on the righteous and the wicked." 

I think that one's about common grace, but the opposite seems true, too.  Bad things happen to all people who live in this broken, fallen world full of broken, fallen people.  That's just how it is.  Just because we're "in God's will" doesn't mean we're in a happy place full of roses, balloons, and bunnies untouchable by the world; it just means that we have the hope that this rotten world full of woes isn't all there is for us.

What does love say to a person who says what this mother does?  What does love say to a person who says that if your life isn't going well, you're doing something wrong?

A last word from God:

"In this world you will have tribulation, 
but be of good cheer, 
for I have overcome the world."

Anyone have any thoughts to add or other ways to look at the situation?

1 comment:

  1. I've definitely heard that kind of thing before. My thoughts are as follows:

    1) Does anybody know if "being in God's will" is actually a scriptural principle? The closest I can think of is the whole "I know the plans I have for you, to prosper you, etc." (which seem to me to be more of a "trust God because he wants the best for you"). I certainly want to live in a way that pleases God and make choices that glorify him. But this idea seems to bring with it a sort of expectation that God has a script for your life, and if you miss a few lines, the play could be ruined.

    2) I think that even if one does something which seems generally in keeping with God's commands, one could have cause to regret (some aspects of) it later, or wish one had chosen differently.
    Examples: If you couldn't financially support your family, and chose to adopt in part because of the monthly government check; if your marriage wasn't especially stable, or you didn't have a network of extended family/friends for support; if you didn't realize how the child could influence your other children's character; if you weren't prepared to meet the child's special needs, such as unforeseen emotional or social dysfunctions.

    3) I think it's a mistake to pin down the problem as "God not being in the situation" too quickly, when it could have been "we didn't do things God's way".

    4) Yeah, God never promised that doing the right thing will be easy. Just that he would bless us. Part of the blessing is probably going to be more challenges that will refine us further, as well as him giving us what we need to get through the challenges inherent in being broken people living in a broken world.