Friday, May 20

Other side of the coin

First off let me say that I don't know your details, much less the intimate details of your situation. However I have seen a pattern lately in the way people have responded to things (namely on Facebook, where in fact, people tend to respond to things) that seems to be a bit contradictory.

Yes, I am responding to a certain event, and it is possible you know what/ who I am talking about, but in this case someone I know didn't get a house they were very interested in getting due to an error by the bank. At this time of writing there were more than twenty comments pretty much saying the same thing, "God has something better for you." I am sure that is meant to be a consoling remark and I don't know how many of the twenty plus audience believed it or not, but it was said. This seems to be a pretty basic reaction to the loss of a physical thing. Cars, houses, etc etc.

No one ever says this when it comes to being sick, or something happening to your person directly. When I got cancer the second time the overwhelming response wasn't, "God has something better for you!" it was much more along the lines of, "We're going to fight this!"

I think perhaps there are times when we need to flip those phrases in their situations. Maybe though with a little more tact on the part of the sick person, but I think I am conveying my idea here. If not, let me simplify: Maybe "God's will" for us in something is that we fight for it. Of course you know your situation and there are times when something is clearly closed, but not always.

Maybe God just wants to see if you really want it as badly as you say you did? Granted health issues are often more "close to home" than something like a car or a house, but still. All I'm saying is that most times it seems like the common response seems to be "Guess God didn't want you to have it!" Does the same apply for when my health goes south? "Guess God didn't want you to live!" Where do you draw that line? And why give up "stuff" but not your health? If you apply the same rules to people and life as you do to stuff (because honestly isn't God the same, yesterday and today, never changing? *) it just sounds mean but really, what separates the two?

If our God is constant then His reactions to things are also the same. Ultimately to bring Himself glory, and to move us towards to closer relationship with Him. So it doesn't really matter if it is "stuff" or our health, or family, God's desire in all of it is the above. So yes, there will be times when God says no, in both stuff and our health. But there are other times where God wants us to fight for something so that we learn things. (Like if we really wanted it in the first place, or to place more value on it, and most importantly what it means to our relationship with Him.)

I now make a plea to avoid the standard "Christianese" saying about God not wanting x person to have something, and instead of saying anything like you know God's will for that person, to pray for that person and/or situation and be a friend and just be supportive, not presumptuous about God's will for that person's life. (This also relates to a conversation we had in small group last night)

< / soapbox >

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  1. Thanks for sharing this, Ben. Comments like that - "It must be God's will" - make it seem to me that the person believes anything that happens in the world is God's will... which I sure hope is not true. I hope there is a difference between God working through terrible events to create some good through them, and God willing terrible events on the world.

  2. I agree with Heather...and would add that anything that requires us to give up "christianese" and actually think through events is my idea of a good thing. Even if it means giving up making any response at all. I'm not good at that one. I'd like to have a "wisdom" for every situation. I understand intellectually the absolute power of God. That God chooses to limit that power is a mystery.Why he lets some of us experience the full force of a fallen world and others to skate through on rainbows...mystery.

  3. Wow, great post. Thanks for provoking my brain to actually think. My thought is that many times when someone says something to the effect of "God has something better for you!" they are merely trying to encourage the other person rather than make a bold theological statement about the will of God in their life. You know, "Hey, don't be sad...keep your head up!". But, we should think about what we say and say what we mean or else potential untruth could begin to drive our thoughts and actions. I think it's interesting you drew a parallel between fighting for "stuff" and our own health. Maybe we should stop in the moment and ask the question, "In this situation, what will bring you glory?". Surely sometimes that may be fighting for what you desire (because it is what God desires as well). Other times it might be letting something go. Anyway, I agree with your plea and will take this as a challenge to think about what I say and to consider God's glory in situations rather than indirectly implying that I know God's will for other's lives.


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