I’ve been a little hesitant to write this post. You’ll soon see why. It’s a hard subject. Plus, there’s a tiny voice in my head telling me that if I write these words, I am opening myself up to experience more hard things.
Are you ready?
If God is worth trusting, and if I believe what the Bible says about God, then I must believe he is in control of the bad things, too.
Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. 1 Chronicles 29:12
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see– such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him, He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Colossians 1:15-17
Who can command things to happen without the Lord’s permission? Does not the Most High send both calamity and good? Lamentations 3:37-38
My first thought when reading these verses and more was, But what about God being good?
Isn’t the first thing we’re taught as children growing up in the faith is that God is good and that he loves us? If that’s the case, then why do bad things happen to us and to our world?
A few years ago, I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and it tweaked my view the good and bad. In her book, Ann tells her story of the loss of a family member and her journey through God bringing healing into her life. She speaks on the healing that came as she began to search for beauty around her and count God’s gifts, even those things that are ugly and don’t look like gifts.
As I read her book, a thought so deep and clear that it’s still present today rooted deep into my soul:
What if the things I view as good and bad are just that– a perception?
What if I only view bad things as “bad” because I have been taught to believe them so? What if they’re only bad because I desire a different outcome?
It’s hard to think of God as being in complete control and yet causing or allowing bad things to happen.
While in the storm, it’s hard to see the shore. Some storms are larger and last longer than others. Sometimes we may not see the end for a long time, sometimes not ever.
I do not wish to minimize anyone’s storms, but I hope to remind a few (and myself) that God is still working even when I can’t see it.
Just because God answers some prayers with a yes and others with a no, doesn’t mean that he isn’t listening or refuses to act. Maybe he’s using the no to do something bigger and better than what I can see. Maybe, just maybe, I don’t know all the mystery and the inner workings of God.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
In Trusting God, Jerry Bridges puts it this way: “The sovereignty of God is often questioned because man does not understand what God is doing. Because He does not act as we think He should, we conclude He cannot act as we think He would.”
I think I will forever be learning my understanding of God does not define or change God’s character. And that, my friend, is a good thing.
Trusting God doesn’t make sense when I’m focused on all the bad. But I believe the bad allows me to really see the good. And often my best “good things” come from the very things I deemed “bad” for a while.
Though it may not make sense right now, a time is coming when it will. For now, let us keep pursuing Him even when we see the first waves of the coming storm.
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. Romans 8:18