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
April 27, 2011 Central Church of Christ’s building
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.
Image: Idea go /freedigitalphotos.net
This morning, there may be no rhyme or reason to what follows. I am simply going to post what I am thinking. There is a lot on my mind lately and I am certain there is a lot on yours as well.
1. Newtown, Connecticut: So much runs through my mind as I think about the perpetrator, the victims, and the survivors. Having a student in my house and an elementary school teacher, this event really struck a nerve. Events like this make us question why there is evil in the world and observe that evil seems to be growing. Yet a friend related this story to me: The school massacre with the most deaths, occurred in 1927 in Bath, Michigan. An angry school employee, used dynamite to blow up part of the school building. 39 people at the school, mostly children, were killed. Before he went to the school he murdered his wife, killed all his farm animals, and burned down his barn. Afterwards, he lured four more people to his truck, where he murdered them and then committed suicide. That morning at the school, He told some of the children, “Today is your last day’. They did not understand. Evil has always been a part of the world. Our only answer is to first be right with God ourselves and to do our best to bring others to God through Christ.
2. Cancer: A friend of ours lost his father to cancer a few years ago. Then a couple of years ago, his mother began battling cancer (she is also a friend). After a hard fight, we all thought that she was going into remission, but just this week the doctors found more tumors in a different part of her body. She is starting radiation treatment this week. My first thoughts were “why?” Why does it seem that those who suffer continue to suffer and almost never seem to get a break? Then I thought of Job – he faced heartache after heartache and suffering upon suffering. Job stayed reliant upon God. I will too.
3. The End of Suffering: Paul says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2Co 4:16-5:1 – ESV).
Thanks for listening to my ramblings.
Evil, its in the eyes!
This year we began a series on Wednesday evenings on Resisting the Devil. We are learning that we can resist the devil and he will run from us. We are learning about temptation and his methodology. We are learning to say,”No, get behind me, Satan.” This class is empowering us to draw nearer to God as we resist our adversary. While preparing for class this week, I came across an old bulletin article entitled, “If I Were the Devil . . .” from Hopewell Church of Christ in Washington, WV. The date on the bulletin is August 9, 1995. Here is a slightly altered version of that article:
If I were the devil . . .
- I would not go after nations like the United States or China. I would first subvert the churches.
- I would tell them that God wants them to be happy, so do as you please.
- I would tell the young that the Bible is a myth and that man invented God as a means of controlling them.
- I would teach adults to look to government for security and not to God.
- I would convince writers that freedom of speech includes writing about things of a sensual nature.
- I would place televisions and computers in every home and in every hand and fill the content with desires and passions of the flesh, eye, and pride.
- I would convince churches to offer psychology instead of theology.
- I would convince states and nations that gambling was the way to raise revenue.
- I would convince God’s people to be not only in the world but of the world.
- I would break homes with immorality or better yet, with easy access to divorce.
- I would convince people that marriage is just a piece of paper and that sharing a house and a bed if you are “in love” is the same thing.
- I would convince men and women that God made them the way they are and therefore there is nothing wrong with homosexuality.
Maybe the devil is already doing these things . . .