Tonight I want to discuss something that has probably puzzled us at times, and perhaps will continue to puzzle us in the future. Why does God allow things to happen? I was watching a movie the other evening about a little boy who was a Ďhemophiliací and contracted AIDS through tainted blood products. She asked her husband this same question. Why did God allow this to happen. Some would say that we cannot know the answer to this question, but I believe that often we can discern why God allows certain things to come into our lives.
The ability to see from Godís perspective does not come naturally. It is a discipline that God wants us to develop in connection with other aspects of spiritual growth. Notice that in the following verses, special wisdom about the ways of God is given to those who meet specific prerequisites:
If we yield our rights
"The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way (Psalm 25:9).
If we obey His commandments.
"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.... I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you" (John 15:14-15).
If we develop spiritual discernment.
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (l Corinthians 2:14).
If we consider the opposite of our natural inclinations.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Is. 55:8-9)
If we are spiritually minded
"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Co. 2:15-16)
If we fear the Lord.
"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant" (Psalm 25:14).
If we love God.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Ro.8:28-29).
I. Some Basic Questions We Should Ask:
A. How can God use this to produce humility in me?
1. The one negative quality that God hates the most and that Satan uses the most is pride.
a. Pride caused Satan to be cast out of Heaven.
b. Pride caused Adam and Eve to be cast out of the Garden.
c. Only by pride cometh contention.
d. A proud look is the first of seven things that God hates. ( Pro. 6:16-17.)
2. On the other hand, it is only by humility and the fear of the Lord that we obtain the most important things in life:
a. "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches , and honour, and life". (Pro. 22:4)
b. Because humility is so basic to our achieving Godís purpose for our lives, and because He has told us to humble ourselves or He will humble us, we should evaluate how the things that happen to us are designed to be a part of Godís humbling process.
c. This is one of the first considerations to make when evaluating an event or circumstance.
3. Consider the following examples:
a. Why did God let David be pursued by Saul? To humble David and prepare him for an effective reign as king.
b. Why did God let Israel wander in the wilderness for forty years? The answer again is to humble them. "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no". (De. 8:2)
B. What character qualities can be developed through this?
1. Look at the situation and go through the list of specific character qualities.
2. Ask yourself, "Which ones will be developed if I respond correctly to this circumstance?"
3. Here are several possible answers:
a. Will I learn patience through what has happened?
b. Will I be more grateful for things I take for granted?
c. Should I be kind and forgiving toward offenders?
d. Will it motivate me to develop endurance?
e. Will it make me more alert and discerning?
4. We know that character training is a major reason why God lets things happen, because "all things work together for good.... To be conformed to the image of his Son" (Ro. 8:28-29).
C. Is this Godís loving discipline to correct me?
1. God has established a very precise cause- and-effect sequence in natural world and in the spiritual world.
a. Just as the laws of nature govern what takes place in the universe,
b. so Godís spiritual laws affect what takes place in our lives and relationships.
2. If we have been disrespectful to our parents in earlier years, and now things are not going well for us, it may be that God is giving the consequences for our violating the 5th commandment.
3. The Fifth Commandment promises that if we honor our father and mother, things will go well for us. (See Ephesians 6:2-3.)
4. The reverse is also true.
5. If we do not honor our father and mother, things will not go well for us.
6. If we do evil to one who has helped us, Scripture warns that evil will not depart from our house.
7. "Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house" (Pro.17:13)
8. Because God loves us, He will chasten us as a father chastens a son. (Heb. 12:6.)
D. Is this preparation for future leadership?
1. The life of Joseph is a classic example of difficult things happening to a person in order to prepare him for his future work- in this case, the second highest leader in the land of Egypt.
2. His serving in the house of Potiphar gave him the experience to manage the realm of Egypt.
3. His serving in the prison tested his ability to maintain cheerfulness, even in difficult times.
4. During Josephís imprisonment, he also learned how the mind of a criminal works, and he was able to use this un- derstanding to bring his brothers to repentance.
5. Jesus promised that if we suffer with Him, we will also reign with Him. (2Tim 2:12.)
6. Suffering forces us to greater maturity, and when we suffer by those in authority, we experience first-hand how important it is for a leader to be kind and merciful to those under his jurisdiction.
7. We are not to look at suffering as a strange occurrence, but as a necessary means for the Spirit of God and His glory to rest upon us. (I Peter 4:12-14.)
E. Did this happen because of the iniquities of others?
1. Because of Adamís transgression, we live in a fallen world, and the consequences of sin do affect our lives.
2. A good name and a rich heritage from parents are blessings that should make us grateful and generous.
3. On the contrary, parents who have offended others and passed on an evil name create a problem that needs to be dealt with by sons and daughters.
4. David suffered from a famine for three years and finally asked God why He let it happen.
5. God informed him that it was the conse- quence of his predecessorís cruel treat- ment of the Gibeonites.
6. When David cleared up this matter, God restored His blessing to the nation. (2 Sa. 21:1-14.)
Consider how we look at an automobile accident: