Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Is God just another Santa Claus?

A friend of mine called me yesterday.  She had recently talked to a friend whose child has a special need.  This mother is a Christian but mad at God for allowing her child to suffer. 

I think we can all relate to that if we are honest.
No one wants to see their child suffer.

My friend tried to encourage this mom by reminding her of God's promises of faithfulness, of His promise that everything He allows in our lives will ultimately be for our GOOD.

The mom rejected this notion as a platitude and has decided her course of action will be anger at God.

I am disturbed as I see this line of thinking more and more these days.
"If God is good, bad things should never happen to us."

Well that is just not so.  It's NOT one of God's promises.  In fact, He clearly says, "In this world, you will have trouble. But fear not, I have overcome the world."

It is through our difficulties that our character is formed. 
It is through difficulties that we get to know Him better. 
As Provider. 
As Comforter. 
 As Healer.
As a Rewarder.
As a Restorer.

If you never had a lack, how would you know that He could meet your need?

Nature is full of examples to help us understand the concept of how a Good God can allow things in our lives that we don't think are 'good.'

They need sun.
They need rain.
If they had all sun, they would die.
If they had all rain, they would die.

Brilliant beauty.
That beauty only comes from a lump of coal that endures much buffeting to produce a diamond.

We all know people who have suffered much and yet are the most amazing people to spend time with.
And we also know people who have been handed everything in life and are not all that pleasant to be around.  In fact, we might say they are completely self-absorbed and shallow.

So, is it good for people to never have a lack of anything?
I would say it isn't.
And I would go so far as to say that a parent who gives a child everything is not a good parent.

So if God allows some problems and suffering (or rain if you will), is that for our GOOD?
Yes, I would say it is.

Is it good when a child gets cancer?
Well...in many ways it is not.
But can God bring good out of a tragic situation?
Yes, He can.  And that is the miracle.
In the midst of pain and tragedy, God can bring beauty from ashes.
And He knows exactly how it feels to lose a child, because He actually GAVE His Son, Jesus, to save us, knowing that His extravagant gift would be mocked, tortured, and killed.

I don't pretend to know exactly why two of my kids were born with congenital heart defects, one was born without an ear, one was born without an ankle bone, or two were missing toes.  But I KNOW that God is good and that He will use their circumstances to mold them into the amazing people He created them to be.

Just as we know it is bad for our children to do whatever they want or receive everything handed to them--because it will ruin them--God does not give us a life of perfection and ease.

Because that would not be for our ultimate GOOD.
And He is GOOD.


csmith said...

My kids are at an age where they ask questions about why God lets bad things happen if he loves us, so we talk about it a lot! I firmly believe that God does not send us trouble to "build character", and he can and does turn all things to good if we allow it. He has given us free will and most of the world's ills are of our own making, even diseases like cancer could have a cure if the world worked together and put our resources towards creating a cure. An example I use for the kids is how parents don't always stop bad things from happening to our kids even if we can. If my son doesn't take good care of his baseball cleats I let him show up for a game without them and make him explain to the coach why he can't play, even though I could easily stop and buy him an extra pair. God allows us to make our choices even though he sees that we are hurting ourselves, and sometimes others. If he fixed everything for us then we wouldn't be humans with a soul, we would be more like little pets.

Angie said...

Amen! I don't think we truly understand how much our hearts and character need molding until we face those challenges. Having children with special needs has been such a blessing in so many ways, and for them, a chance to show the world God's faithfulness and promises are true!

Addie Talley, Photographer said...

I think she may not be angry at God, but rather at His hands and feet (ie: "Christians").... that is where I find myself. I love God with all my heart, but the church is something I dont feel like I want or need anymore - the people in it dont care about who is hurting - they only want to grow numbers. If the church would actually start moving and alleviate some of the hurting/suffering - just love on people, then the message would be alot easier to hear.

just my 2 cents.

Joy said...

As a Christian & wife and mom to special needs men I say you are SO right!!! Well written too.:)