- 1. The first question will shake some people up. “Is everything that happens God’s will?” Personally, I don’t believe that everything that happens is necessarily God’s will. Others might ask me, “How can you say such a thing if you believe that God is in control – that God is sovereign?”
For me, I find a tremendous amount of comfort in the following verse:
“Let no one say when he or she is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.”
Now, another question.
2. What percentage of all human activity – good or bad - would you say that temptation is?
James 1:13 declares that God doesn’t tempt anyone. He is not responsible for that. He does not tempt anyone. To me, this implies that God is not responsible for everything that happens. There is some percentage of human activity that God is not directly involved in.
Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
I see God coming to the rescue of those who cry out to Him for help. Let me put it another way. God did not pull the trigger on the guns that killed Javad and Vivian. He did not tempt the people who did that. We just read that verse in James – “God does not tempt anyone.” But He does come to the rescue of those who cry out to Him.
“As for me, I shall call upon God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice. He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle, which is against me, for they are many who strive with me. God will hear and answer them – even the one who sits enthroned from of old…”
This verse talks about the battle which is against us. Whether we like it or not, we are in a battle. Not a peaceful battle – there is no such thing. People get killed. People get hurt. Good people. People we love. Tragedy is a major part of any battle. And often the young and helpless, the good and the precious, the near and the dear are cut down.
Is that comforting? Not to me!
Actually, it tells me that there may be a period of time in my life when there is no comfort except in God Himself. And that is because of who God is (His character) and because “God will hear and answer them – even the One who sits enthroned from of old.”
There will come a time when God will answer evil.
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
God is holy.
In other words, God can be trusted completely to bring everything to a close in a just and righteous manner, no matter how terrible the present time is.
God has not forgotten me, and He “listens” when I “complain” (Psalm 55:16-19a).
3. “So if God is all-powerful, why did He allow that to happen?” someone might ask.
My answer – “I don’t know.”
I know that Romans 8:28 says, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
And that provides me with some comfort. But it also encourages me to know that God doesn’t cause everything.
Sometimes we say, “It was an act of God” when we don’t know what we are talking about. Maybe it was not an act of God.
I think it is very tempting for us to say, “It was an act of God,” because then we can get out of a lot of personal responsibility! “Well, God controls everything, so there isn’t much we can do about it anyway.”
God loves to feed the hungry, but He does it through people. God loves justice, but He carries it out most often through people. He is not responsible for what people do, but He will judge all people with perfect fairness and justice.
“It is appointed to men (men and women, i.e., mankind) once to die and then the judgement.”
God has proven His motives and character by His beautiful creation, by His lovingkindness even to the wicked all through history, and by sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ to give His life for us on the cross.
I wrote the following poem for those who are suffering, who have “emotional sunburn.”
I hope and pray
That something I say
Will help you today –
From me to you.
The Empty Room
There is an empty room
Where my son once was
There is an empty place
Where my daughter once lived
I walk by their room
Late at night
With the ticking of a clock
The only sound
But they are no longer around
Oh the silence
Cuts my heart like a knife
And only pictures
Are left of their wonderful life
Yes they were real
Yes they were here
Yes they talked and laughed
And held on to my hand
Oh my Lord in heaven
How could You plan
My life without them
How could You give me
This empty room
In a house
Where once was the sound of their voice
I once knew
How can I go on
With this empty room
What can I hang on to
What will You give me
To carry me through
Sometimes all I can do is cry…
But other times faith wells up in me
Even in the silence
And I can hear the angels in heaven
Saying over and over
“Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God
Who was and is and is to come…”
And I raise my hands
Knowing that at the throne
My child is giving praise with me
To the Rescuer
The Holy One
And I shall see my dear child someday
As the Savior with pierced hands
Brings us together again…
And right now I choose
To worship the Lord
In the garment of praise
He has given to me
By the gift of His Son
Randy Stahla 9-9-06