I what sound like good phrases every day. A few of them follow:
- If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
- Everything happens for a reason.
- God had to break me so I could learn to rely on Him.
As meaningful as these phrases sound they are NOT biblical. In fact, sometimes they do
more harm to faith than they help. What kind of father would intentionally bring harm to his children to teach them a lesson? What parent would beat a child to the breaking point? In our society we would call that abuse. Well, my God is not an abusive Father.
Hebrews 12:6 speaks of God disciplining His children, but discipline is training not always in a punishing way. Contextually, the Hebrew writer is talking about our struggle with sin not hardships in life. Any hardships that are a part of that struggle are not God’s doing in the sense that He caused them, but that they are a consequence of our misconduct. This morning I heard local radio personalities talking about their children’s struggle to get out of bed for school. One DJ said she literally pulled her child’s feet out of the bed and set them on the floor. After they asked for advice, one listener messaged that she allowed her child to suffer the consequences of sleeping in – being tardy for school a few times, being late for work, etc. When the child realized they were responsible they asked for help learning to get up. The discipline in Hebrews 12 is the same. Training as we learn from our mistakes.
Romans 8:28 does say that all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. But that does not say all things are good. Nor does it say that God causes all things. What it says is that when we trust and rely on God as His child (called according to His purpose) that God will be with us through the hardships and can and will bring us good despite them and often through them. This will not always be immediate and we may not always see it, but God will be with us.
Bad, evil, disaster, disease, death, crime, and poverty happen in our lives and all around us. That is what happens in a “fallen world.” Such might be consequences of our sin, Satan’s activities and influence, or the collateral damage of others’ sin. They are not caused by God, but God can and will see His children through them in life now and in eternity.