Sometimes when we think, “everything happens for a reason,” we think that because we view God as a vengeful God.
We think bad things happen to us as a result of our being “bad” or our “sin.”
That comes from an Old Testament understanding of God as a vengeful God.
Yet I push us to ponder, if God were vengeful and angry, what kind of relationship would it be?
Most of us can remember times we were punished for doing something wrong.
As a child, if my parents told me NOT to do it, sadly it guaranteed action on my part.
The worst “spanking” I ever received from my father was when he was trying to get the house ready to sell and he had new linoleum put on the kitchen floor. He specifically told me NOT to touch the can of blue paint on the counter; it was to fix a scratch on his car.
Yet I NEEDED to see that can up close.
One day while home alone, I decided I would just take a quick look. When I tried to reach it, it fell and crashed onto the floor, spilling dark blue paint ALL OVER the new linoleum.
Needless to say, there was NOTHING I could do to fix that mistake.
I had to own it; there was no way to hide what I had done.
I was not old enough to process his tremendous anger. I now see there were many things going on that day beyond his anger at my disobedience.
He was also experiencing tremendous grief of the death of his wife, feelings of being overwhelmed at the new role of being a single parent, and sadness at leaving his home, job, and what he had known as “normal” for many years. He acted out of those negative feelings.
Yet since I couldn’t process his anger, I came to fear him.
Even though I knew he loved me, I also knew he was frequently angry.
So rather than feeling love as a dominant emotion, I most often felt fear.
Fear is not a healthy place to exist emotionally.
It causes us to act and react in ways we would not if we were unafraid.
If fear is not a healthy base for human relationships, why would it be any different in a relationship with God?
The Hebrew people understood God to be a vengeful God. They carried into their faith the age old beliefs that God is “controlling” all things . . . the weather, fertility, etc.
When we read the teachings of Christ, we do not get that same glimpse of God. He shared that God was a God of Life, Love, Peace, and true joy. He shared that trials would come but in and through those trials, God would be there through the suffering.
Yet, often times because we do not know what to do with difficult life circumstances, it is easier to attribute them to God. Thus – “everything happens for a reason.”
We must accept that God is not sitting around, waiting on us to misbehave or make a mistake and once we do, BAM! We receive God’s punishment.
God is Love.
God is Grace.
Acting with Deeper Faith:
The next time something bad in your life happens and you think, “Oh, I am sure God is punishing me because I did ________” may you stop and remember, God is love and God is grace.
Luke 11:11-13 CEB
11 “Which father among you would give a snake to your child if the child asked for a fish? 12 If a child asked for an egg, what father would give the child a scorpion? 13 If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
John 16:33 ESV
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”