Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Another View on Bad Things Happening(to me)

I am writing this one more for my slower witted readers (oscar) who have trouble following a long posting that doesn't include pictures.....

If you do not believe in God, or more specifically, the God of the Bible.  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  This post is not really "designed" to speak to your concerns.

     In my many years in ministry leadership I have had the privilage to counsel a number of people in different stages of life.  A consistent theme I run across is peoples frustration with the perception that God has allowed bad things to happen to "them".  Example:  A relationship didn't work out, lonliness, lack of feeling connected to God, depression, etc.  What I am about to say in response in no way is meant to belittle these confessed feelings and hurts, but listen carefully.

        100 times out of 100 the problem is not that God didn't "watch out" for them, but that they are themselves at fault for the problems they are facing.  It is human nature to blame shift.  The terrible, day ruining, comic strip, "Family Circus", has a running "joke" of a little ghost child labeled "not me" that shows up whenever the obvious perpertrator of some "crime" is trying to pretend it wasn't them.  At an early age we begin a process of telling everyone that whatever bad just happened in no way is related to what we are doing, and we often say it enough that we convince our own selves of this blatant lie.

   When we do this on a personal and spiritual level we are being as absurd and illogical as the "not me" child of "Family Circus".  As our lives are in complete disarray, we tend to say "not me" and look to blame the person we assume should have our matter what we do!  A simple illustration of this is in the most commonaly complained about situation I deal with:

      Upset person:  I feel like God just doesn't care, I feel very alone, I am depressed, why isn't God helping me have peace.
       Me:  So what have you done, or, are you doing, to deal with these feelings?
      U.P.:  Nothing....
     Me:  Have you shared this with your close christian friends
     U.P.:  (two possible responses)  1)  no, I don't feel comfortable talking about it, 2) I don't have any close christian friends
     Me:  Have you been spending time in God's word
     U.P.:  No
    Me:  Are you praying about this
     U.P.:  (two possible responses) 1) No  2) I did...a couple of times
     Me:  Are you going regularly to fellowship with other christians?
    U.P.:  (two possible responses) 1) No  2)  Yes, but they would judge me if I told them what was going on, so I just show up and go home as soon as it is over
  I am in no way exagerrating to tell you that I have lost count of the number of times and different types of situations that I have had almost this exact conversation.  In case you are lost as to how this all ties into being "your" fault, let me explain.

   We are not promised that being a Christian is going to equate to having a great, peaceful and succesful life.  We are promised that in the midst of a broken and hurting world we can have hope, peace, and an abundance of Joy.  But, as I mentioned in my last post, we have this sticky little problem called free will.  We demand that God gives us what He has promised in His word, on OUR terms.  Every day we make choices that are in opposition to God's will and call on our lives, and then we turn around and say "Dang it God!!  Why did you let that happen to me?!?!" 

    Analogy to illustrate this absurdity:  You buy a new car.  You proceed to go offroading daily, never put the right kind of gas in, never change(or put in) oil, etc.  After a few months your new car is completely falling apart.  Angirly you head back to the dealership and demand a refund because your car is not working the way it did when you took it off the lot on the first day.  They would laugh in your face.  You cannot expect to break all the rules and the terms of agreement for a warranty, not to mention basic common sense, and have someone else make sure you still have working car!  Yet, we expect God to do that for us.

   Without going step by step through what someone should be doing in any given situation, let me just leave it at this.  We often are angry at God about the bad things in our lives, when the reality is we have set ourselves up through own sinful choices and actions to suffer through whatever it may be that we are struggling with.  I have yet to meet someone who is struggling with any given situation who has pursued the biblical God called steps to dealing with whatever the situation may be!  And that is for 2 reasons:  1)  If you are pursuing whole heartedly the truth of God's call in your life, the problems you are facing probably wouldn't exist   2)  If you are truly walking through the steps, I have total confidence in the exponential increasing of your peace, joy and hope in the midst of whatever your problem is! 

   The root sin issue we all struggle with is pride.  At the heart of everything we do in rejection of God is a pride that says, "no God, you can't be right about "that", let's do it MY way".  We need to stop embracing sin and rejecting God's clearly explained plans and purposes and then turning around to be angry when we experience the natural results of living outside of our design.

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