Our pastor had a great message yesterday. The subject was “Why do bad things happen?” – a very timely topic in light of the recent events in Japan.
As he spoke and listed the possible reasons why things happen – I was reminded of the journey that I have been on – and the many people who I have encountered along the way who have also had bad things happen to them.
Sometimes bad things DO happen to good people. It’s called LIFE. We live in a fallen world where things are going to happen.
We ourselves are fallen creatures – capable of making choices that are not always the best. Many things we do to ourselves – and although the Lord forgives us – people aren’t always so kind – and worse than that – there is the fall-out and carnage from those choices that can follow us for the rest of our lives.
Our choices, therefore – can lead us down a path of unresolved issues, guilt, despair, hurt and frustration, separation from loved ones and good friends. Or they can lead us to reconciliation, understanding, forgiveness and love. I want to be in the later group – and I want all those that I have wronged to also be in that group. Ah – but that is not always possible. My husband Greg – calls this, “Cindy Land”.
And of course when touching on this subject – my childhood teachings come in to play. Certain scripture verses come to light when talking about ‘temptation’ – or ‘failing’ or just simply a ‘mess-up’. Scriptures that would cite the Devil or at least demonic activity as the culprit for why we mess-up – why we are tempted to do wrong – or get involved with wrong people and wrong choices. Things like, “The Devil is crouching at the door” or “The Devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy”. And although I buy into some of that to a certain extent – (I cannot argue with scripture after all) – I also have to accept responsibility for my own choices. I do know people who blame the Devil for everything saying, “The Devil made me do it” – instead of accepting personal responsibility for their own actions. And almost always, those same people point fingers and blame others – instead of looking inside of themselves and taking the responsibility for themselves. This makes me sad – because I know they will never heal properly while trying to “run from the devil” or run from those “bad people” who tempt them into doing wrong. The answer is almost always inside ourselves and has to do with our own heart. Can the Devil take advantage of us when we are weak? – Yes. Does he tempt us? Yes. I do believe that. But he cannot force us to do anything – we are capable of making those bad choices without any help. The heart of man is deceitfully wicked and prone to wander – without any help at all. “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you”
I know for myself – that I am almost always aware when I make a choice – good or bad. There comes a point of ‘no return’ – where I blow past all the red flags – and intentionally do something – because I want to. I can admit that. I think everyone would be better and healthier if they could just admit it too.
Like my pastor, Stephen – I do not believe that the earthquake and tsunami of Japan and a couple of years ago the earthquake in Haiti – is the result of God’s judgment.
I believe that the world is fallen – it has been fallen since sin entered the garden through Adam and Eve. And yet despite this fact – I believe that God is good. He sent His son Jesus to rescue me from myself, to validate and identify with me. I believe that He loves me. He came – He got involved. He forgives and He is with me through bad things that happen to me. He walks with me and gives me the ability to get through it. He is very aware that I am fragile and that I blow it. He is slow to anger and covers me with love and mercy. And one day – things will be perfect again – when He returns and we see Him as He is.
Until then – we are here – living with fallen people – and in a fallen world.
When you have had something bad happen to you – either by a mistake and wrong choices that you have made – or just because you’re living in a fallen world with fallen people – I believe that you have a choice – just like I do. A choice to quit and say, “I’m done” – or you can take that bad thing and use it to help other people – becoming a softer and more compassionate person who understands God’s amazing grace. Someone whom others will come to when in trouble – who need an understanding hug and word of encouragement.
Be that person today.
As we journey together…
Here is a little Flip Wilson – enjoy!