We’re supposed to accept God’s will, right? I mean, if we’re good Christians and all. Isn’t it the hallmark of being a “good Christian” that we fairly easily accept the will of God when bad things happen in our lives?
“God provideth. And God taketh away.”
This is what wise people say when tragedy strikes.
And I think, much of the time, this is good. But is it possible to take this acceptance of God’s will too far? I think so. Just as with anything else. This one is a bit hard to explain without getting myself into a lot of trouble, but I’ll try.
Ultimately we’re talking about this incredible question of why God allows bad things to happen. This is tough stuff, and we’re ultimately not answering that large question here. But only a small part of it. Why would God allow a woman to be raped when he is ultimately in control? There are a lot of theories. And in this post, I’m not talking about large events like this. Huge events that cause us to question humanity and God itself. And I’m certainly not suggesting that getting raped is somehow discipline from God. So let’s not lose focus and dive off into that. Let’s have a good conversation about something that matters. But that is not quite at that level.
I’m talking about small issues. The loss of a job. Foreclosure. Car accident without major loss. Break-ups. Even possibly divorce. Should we just simply shrug our shoulders in these cases and say, “Well, I suppose losing this house is God’s will.”
I don’t think so. I think we should get pissed off. And angry. Even if it means being angry at God. Because there are times when God needs to do crazy things to get our attention. So if we just toe the line and act like good Christians who never complain about God’s will, we may be missing out on the very lesson that God is pushing us to accept.
Question: If God allows a foreclosure to come into your life, are you being tested to see how passive you’ll be in the light of his will? Or is God intentionally trying to get you so pissed off that you finally root something out of your life that he wants rooted out of your life? See, I’m not so convinced that God wants us to just be fully passive and just lay down at every tragedy.
Look at David in the Psalms. A third (I’m guessing here) of the Psalms are about David being pissed off at God about one thing or another. And letting God know it. And what about Jacob with getting his hip dislocated. Jacob didn’t enter into this fight with God, or an angel (depending on the scholars you listen to) and simply say, “God is fighting with me so he wins.” No. He fought. And fought. Until God literally dislocated his hip. He was the opposite of passive. And from there on his name was Israel.
What if Zechariah had simply folded up shop and never tried to speak again, and then never raised his son John with the strength of a man who had been afflicted by God for months without the ability to speak? Can you think of someone more rebellious than John (other than Christ himself of course). How pissed off do you think Zechariah was at God? At himself? How much did that anger fester and build until he was at a boiling point where he could hear the words, “His name is John” and finally speak them.
The Bible is a lot of things. But a guidebook on how to live a quiet, keep-to-yourself passive life taking whatever comes your way isn’t one of them.
I am not convinced that we should so easily accept God’s will but should become angry, become self-examining, become God-examining, even possibly fight. Because it is often through these very struggles that we become who we are meant to be. We are the Jacob who becomes Israel. Perhaps these minor tragedies that affect our lives are meant to press us to a point of breaking, with the knowledge that God will see to it that the pieces fall in a way that was better than when they were whole.
If you are struggling, perhaps take a break from praying for your struggle to end and pray for guidance on the change God is seeking in your life. Pray for guidance on how to push through this tragedy as opposed to walking away from it. Pray for the strength God is desperately hoping you will realize he has given you. Pray for the eyes to see the discipline God is seeking to infuse into your life.
Again, this is not a simple matter. And perhaps your struggle has nothing to do with a change God wants to see in your life. Maybe it’s just a struggle. Sometimes things suck. Sometimes things are tragic. But my encouragement to you is to be less passive in the face of God’s will and accept the challenge that the struggle presents you. Feel the anger it makes you feel. Feel the sadness it makes you suffer. Get angry with God and tell him you are angry.
But don’t take the risk of missing the very breakthrough you may need because you read somewhere that no matter what, everything bad should just be accepted. You must accept God’s will. But don’t assume it is his will that you stop fighting at the first sign of struggle.
Now… go be amazing. It’s how you were built.