Monday, March 21, 2016

A Big "Why?"

This is a question that can either free us or imprison us.  Why did I end up in this situation?  Why did I make that choice?  Why did a God of goodness and grace allow that to happen?  The permutations of this question can be as numerous as our fleeting thoughts or our deepest hurts.  Why?

Michael Card asks this question about the events of Holy Week.  The triumphal entry, the cleansing of the temple, the cursing of the fig tree, the parables about judgement and the end times, the "New Covenant"of the Last Supper, the betrayal, the trials, the torture, the condemnation of Jesus to the cross, the crucifixion, the death of Jesus and the events of Easter morning.  No eggs, no fuzzy bunnies, no plastic grass, no baskets ... just WHY?

I won't attempt to completely answer this question today.  Anyone who would tackle the 'why' question and say they have it solved is, I believe, delusional.  But what I will do is take some personal shots at sorting out things I have had to face.

Why did I end up in a bad situation when I desired to do something good?  The answer to this one is remarkably easy.  First, when we immerse ourselves in the dangerous water of relationships we might get hurt, persecuted, misunderstood and just plain in 'over our heads.'  Yet, we minister, love and serve anyway.  Being in ministry is dangerous ... Jesus knew this well.  It took Him to death on the cross. 

Second, we can control our own choices but not those of others.  Other people make choices that might seem good to them but might harm me.  So, as Christians, we love them through the danger if we can. 

Finally, while God keeps His promises, people are fickle.  I wish I could explain this but I will leave it as I say to myself ... "they just are ... deal with it."

Why does God let bad things happen?  This is a big one and I will only touch on an answer.  What comforts me about this one is to realize God's agenda and my agenda are different.  I desire smooth sailing, no pain and total victory over ever problem I face.  God is into growing us up so that when we come to live with Him we will be good citizens of our real home (read 1 Peter 2:2-5 and Hebrews 13:14).  There is an old theory about "why is evil in the world?" called the Irenaean Theodicy.  It describes God's purpose as 'soul-making' in this world so that people will be prepared for, happy in and expectant of our eternal home with God.  C.S. Lewis touches on this in a book called the Great Divorce.  It, for me, is comforting to know that this world isn't all there is and that I can have a better tomorrow if I (as John describes it) abide in Jesus.

So ... why did today not go like I planned?  Maybe I need a lesson.  Maybe a bad person placed me in a bad situation.  Maybe I made a bad choice and am living in the throes of consequences.  What I do know is I should look around me ... observe what is happening ... look for evidence of God's hand ... and see the roses blooming in the wasteland and life eternal emerging from the empty tomb! Randy

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