Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sunday Sermon Summary....Why Bad Things Happen To Good People

A few weeks ago, our pastors held a Q&A service. Members of the congregation were asked to write down or text in questions for the pastors, then the pastors would answer them to the best of their ability. There were so many questions, that they didn't get to answer all of them during the service, so this past week Pastor Ken built his sermon around a few of them. One of them was....."Is there a reason for everything?"
Just to clarify, although Ken does use scripture to back up his beliefs, the following are his beliefs.....and actually they are my beliefs as well. You may not agree or you may believe differently, and that is perfectly acceptable.....that's part of the beauty of living in America!
Ken began with asking "Why do bad things happen to good people? Does God cause evil or bad things?" Ken doesn't believe God causes bad or evil things to happen and neither do I. I remember a sermon he gave, a few years ago, right after my dad died about this. When my dad died, I struggled with the following statements because I simply didn't believe them...."God wanted your dad in Heaven. God decided it was time to take your dad!" I don't believe, for a second, that the God who loves His children so much would ever cause them to be sick and in horrible pain. I don't believe that He would cause horrible accidents to occur which could be fatal or leave people maimed forever. I do believe that we live in a corrupt world, full of sin, and that the environment, the choices we make, the choices others make cause bad things to happen; and that sometimes.....God chooses not to intervene. I don't think God decided to give my dad cancer.....my dad's choice to smoke for 40+ years is what gave him cancer....God just chose not to heal him here on earth. Instead He gave him the ultimate healing of death and eternal life with HIM!!!
I read The Shack last summer.....remember this is a book of fiction and not based on scripture, but I LOVED this book. Most folks I know who have read it....either loved it or hated it! I remember a part in the book (paraphrased here) where Papa (GOD) tells Mack something along the lines of the following....Yes He can choose to intervene, but He doesn't always choose to do so for reasons which we may not understand at this point. He then says all He can say is that He offers Mack His love and goodness and relationship with HIM. Free will came into play when Adam and Eve first ate of the apple. Then Papa(GOD) says the following...."There was no way to create freedom without a cost, as you know".....looking down at the scars on His wrists. "I knew that my Creation would rebel, would choose independence and death, and I knew what it would cost me to open a path of reconciliation. Your independence has unleashed, what seems to you, a world of chaos; random and frightening."
The majority of people have always tried to live their lives independent of GOD....even Christians. For some reason it's hard for us to give up control, to rely fully on the blood of JESUS and God's grace; but that's all we need. I don't believe God causes evil or tempts us to do evil. He sent Jesus to be our salvation, so that through His grace we could live life eternal with HIM.
Psalm 5:4 says the following....O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked.
James 1:13 says the following....And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong,[a] and he never tempts anyone else.
3 John 1:11 says the following....Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.[a]
There's another part in The Shack (again paraphrased) where Papa tells Mack that He wants Mack to forgive the man that killed his little girl....He tells Mack that he has to forgive him, so he will be released to HIM; and HE can redeem him. GOD tells Mack that this man that did this evil thing is too HIS son, and He wants to redeem him. WOW! I remember thinking how hard that would be....but how true that is!
Ken then answered the question....Is there a reason for everything? Ken said he didn't believe so. If he believed that, then he would have to believe that God caused everything. He doesn't believe God causes everything, but he does believe that God is there every single moment of every single day and that HE brings good out of "bad" or "evil" circumstances....and so do I!

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