God-folks often say “everything happens for a reason” implying God controls everything down to the day we die. God gets a bad rap when we assume God controls everything. Is God really responsible for the timing when a drunk driver kills another driver? There is another view of God’s control or sovereignty. God, unlike humans, does not have to be controlling to be in control. Choose the view that creates less distance between you and your Creator. I cannot think of anything worse during difficult times than to feel abandoned by our Creator.
From the very beginning God gave us the freedom to love or hate Him and His ways. Since God created freedom God can be accused of allowing bad things to happen, just as parents can for birthing children into the world we live in, but God is neither the creator nor initiator of evil that results from the human heart (Gen. 6:5). God cannot win! Lack of freedom does not allow the higher good in relationships that results from free, moral decisions.
We can pray for God to intervene, but the truth is God doesn’t intervene miraculously most of the time to help us avoid suffering inevitable in a free world. Jesus’ miracles did not accomplish nearly what His suffering did. Suffering, caused by freedom, can lead to greater dependency on God and wisdom about life. Our joy may be greater in the long-run with suffering than without suffering since shit happens! Undeserved suffering also enables us to better serve others in similar situations.
If God doesn’t cause bad things to happen to us, logically God doesn’t always cause good things to happen to us. Did God really give us the parking space when others needed the space more? Did God give us the job when others praying for the same job needed the job more financially? To those who claim victory in the game, did God intend the losers to lose? We may innocently say “by the grace of God He spared their life.” What does this say to others about their loved one not spared on 9/11? Does God love less those not spared?
If we think God is the cause of all things and a controller, we may be tempted to sit back and wait for Him to act. We may be waiting on a sign from God. We may need to get off our knees and go help the person we are praying for. With decision-making God doesn’t demand only certain paths to follow as human parents may. We are free to use our gifts and decide where we think we can make the greatest contribution in our current circumstances. Many “Godly” paths can be chosen while still remaining entirely within God’s will. You can’t go wrong loving God.
I am not saying God is not active in our lives. God is impacting the world daily one changed life at a time. I am a better man for God being in my life than not. I dread to think how I would really treat others without God’s influence. God is always encouraging us to flee from sin and exhorting us to take a stand against evil. Why are we waiting on God? Hypocritically, we demand God stop evil but we do nothing ourselves to stop the evil of others. God can do a lot of good if we just follow and imitate His ways.
One might accept that my thoughts are at least more consistent with freedom and give God less of a bad reputation with others. How then does one live their life? Petition God for the miraculous, but don’t assume we know best how to run a free world. Use prayer as a form of communication than manipulation. It isn’t best God always answer my prayers. When something bad happens, you don’t have to blame God or wonder why He doesn’t love you. When something good happens, you may be internally grateful but not discouraging toward others by the words you use. Is a better saying for some “Shit happens and we may not know all the reasons to our satisfaction for why God allows evil to continue or be so random, but we know one reason is not because God doesn’t love us as evidenced by allowing Jesus to suffer as well in a free world.”