Knowing God Cares

Understanding Grace, Faith, and Foregiveness

Blaming God?

Written By: Beverly Morrison-Wickwire - Mar• 02•14

Why do bad things happen to good people?

I hear this question all the time. Chances are, so do you, and not without cause. The fact is, everyone has suffered through some sort of trial or heartache in their lives which can range from an emotional to a personal loss. This can be

  • the tragic death of someone close
  • the end of an intimate relationship
  • the onset of a terminal or debilitating illness
  • the loss of a job or property
  • or anything in between these things

Regardless of whether it is you going through the trial or someone close to you, the first instinct is to wonder why. Comments like, “I didn’t do anything to deserve this,” or “They are such nice people. Why would God let that happen . . . .” and after a series of questions, the conversation will sometimes end up taking a turn towards blaming God.

Of course, this isn’t a new problem. Adam blamed God for giving him the woman who talked him into being disobedient by eating the fruit and, ultimately, led to the fall of man. The Israelites blamed God and Moses for keeping them wandering about in the desert, making them eat nothing but bread and water, causing them to lose their faith, and keeping them from seeing the Promised Land.

The next generation blamed God for causing them to be in bondage after He had delivered them from Egypt, even though He had kept them safe in spite of their disobedience through worshiping false gods.

I could go on, but the stories are all the same. Instinctively, when something bad happens, we start looking for answers. Many well-meaning Christians (scholars and lay people alike) will quote Romans 8:28, “For God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Afterwards, they will try to use the verse to comfort but, instead, end up pointing some level of blame to God for “causing” the tragedy.

So, let’s visit a couple of ideas starting with Romans 8:28. While many people are content with blaming God for causing the tragic loss of a child, the fact is that God, in His infinite wisdom, is not to blame. How can I say that when the verse is so clear? I hold that to conclude that God causes the evils of this world is an incorrect interpretation of the verse . Here is something to consider. We live in a fallen world, therefore bad things happen.

blaming God

Blaming God?

Look at these examples. If someone decides to drink too much and gets behind the wheel of a car, then later causes the death of an innocent person, who is responsible? We all know the blame lies on the person who took the drink and chose to get behind the wheel. What if someone is gunned down by an armed robber who was attempting to make their getaway from the scene of the crime. Again, who is at fault? Of course, it is the person committing the crime. These scenarios are easy, but what if a child gets sick and dies. Who is at fault now? The answer is no one. No one is at fault. This beautiful, innocent child simply became terminally ill. Sadly, they did not survive.

Interestingly, humans have a desperate “need” to place blame when bad things happen, so the obvious choice is to blame God. And someone is always ready with Romans 8:28 and a misguided interpretation. What, then, does the verse actually say? Here is a paraphrased, but a more accurate interpretation. Remember, this is applicable to Christians. “Bad stuff happens, and that is just part of life. But, when the bad stuff happens, God takes the situation and uses the circumstance for the good of the those involved. In other words, He takes a tragic situation and brings something positive from it.” (Wickwire paraphrase) That is what the verse means. Not, God caused this terrible thing for your good.

Now, this does not mean that God has never caused dramatic events to get the attention of His children. Nor does it mean that God could not, at any given time, intercede. But what does it take for this intercession, or how could we keep God from causing the dramatic event? The answer is to ask Him. If you aren’t sure that you believe it, here are a few examples to consider:

Lazarus (who Jesus loved) died. He had been dead for four days when Jesus arrived. Mary and Martha had sent for Him days before, but He was teaching and healing others. He did head towards Bethany where Lazarus lived, but despite the fact He knew Lazarus was dying, He took several detours along the way. However, when Jesus arrived, notice Martha’s response, “Lord, if You had only been here, my brother would not have died, but even now, I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give it to You.” (John 11:21-22) We all know what happened next. Lazarus was raised from death back to life. Martha asked for mercy. Mercy was freely given. God was glorified.

How about the crippled man who remained nameless along with his four friends. Again, Jesus was teaching and the friends of the man went to extreme measures to bring him before Jesus and ask for healing. (Luke 5:17-20)

God is not in the habit of causing problems in our lives. In fact, God wants us to be in a relationship with Him so that when the bad things come our way, we have a solid foundation to sustain us.

So what is the context here? God loves us and when our heart is broken, so is His. The next time someone asks why this horrible thing happened, place your arms around them and let them cry, and pray that God will bring comfort as only He can. Over the course of time, God will restore them. In the meantime, ask God what you can do to help the process. God Bless.

Thanks for Reading. I would LOVE your Questions or Comments.

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