Friday, April 04, 2014

Why do bad things happen to good people?

John 9:1-12
That's a question often asked by those who do not believe.  Well, maybe everyone asks that question.  Certainly I have asked it. Have you?

The Jews of Jesus' day asked a different question.  They thought illness and deformity happened because of sin.  See the question they ask Jesus here. 

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”

It's someone's fault.  Not God's fault.  He is simply meting out justice. But Jesus corrects them:

Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over."

It's the wrong question. I love how Eugene Peterson put it: There is no such cause-effect here. Instead of looking for someone to blame for this man's condition, look instead for how God plans to work.

Then Jesus goes on to involve us.  He tell us WE need to be energetically at work.  Not just Jesus.  We need to get involved.  Instead of asking why, we need to ask how can I be the hands and feet of Jesus, doing God's work here.  I need to help.  We need to help.  We need to work the works of God so that all near will see the great work God wants to do in the situation.

Because the night will fall and the time to help will be over.  I don't think Jesus meant when He would leave, God would be done demonstrating His mercy and power.  I think that it means when this age is over.  The light is still here, in us, as we have the Holy Spirit. 

"For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”

Jesus promised He would never leave us and the Holy Spirit in us is the fulfillment of that promise.

Bad things happen in the broken world, to the good and the bad.  But God promises that He works all things together for good for those who love Him.  And we can get in on that.  We can be part of the fulfillment of that promise.

When I hear this question from someone who does not share faith in Jesus, it seems like they are blaming God.  And while I think we can (and I do) tell God when we are angry with Him because of circumstances, in the end I am confident that His heart is for me and for my ultimate good. Even though I may not understand, I can trust that He using the problems to make my character better, stronger, purer.  He will use the circumstances to make me into the beautiful woman He always intended me to be.
Our good cousin, Susan Murray,
caught in the towers on 9/11
Meanwhile, I can help others.  Help me see when and where to do this, Beloved.  Let me trust You in the darkness, knowing You are the light, You are beautiful,You are worthy of my truth. You are worthy.  

Sometimes the circumstances are too horrible and senseless.  Sometimes there is no works of God and no building of character that could make the catastrophe  worthwhile.  Yes I have seen that too.  In the end there, I have concluded that I can only trust God and run to Him in that pain. He is our Comfort and Healer.  He has shown me: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed. (Psalm 34:18)

No comments: