One of the questions which so many people grapple with, both Christian and non-Christian alike, is why God allows bad things to happen to good people. I think this question is a particular challenge to those of us who follow Christ. We talk a lot about the love, power, mercy and grace of God. We talk of His goodness. We talk about God supplying all our needs and if we ask anything in His name... He will do it. We don't want God to be our father, we want Him to be a genie-like God. We rub the "magic lamp", say the right words and PRESTO!
We quote all sorts of scriptures about if we ask for something, God will do it. We leave out one very important little detail however. We don't bother to ask whether or not something is God's will. We tell Him our will and expect Him to do it.
Just because you think something is good for you doesn't mean it is.
We understand this principal when it applies to our children. Every parent knows that their children often want something which is not good for them. Every parent has had the experience of having to deny their child something. Every parent at one time or another has attempted to explain to their child why their answer is "not yet" or even the dreaded "no". Most of the time, our kids don't get it. They don't hear or understand the reasons why. They simply hear the word "no".
Doesn't it stand to reason that if we as earthly parents must sometimes deny our children "the desires of their heart", God must sometimes do the same with us? The bottom line is, we are not God. While something may seem good and right to us, God sees the long-term implications. Oh, and by the way, God does not owe us any explanation.
It was once pointed out to me that in the Book of Job, God reveals to Job why He allowed the enemy to bring suffering upon him. God never says something like, "Well, you see Job... one day satan came before me and we had this conversation... " Have you ever noticed this is missing from the Book of Job? I hadn't!
In the late summer/early fall of 2008, my primary physician and my oncologist watched as my pancreas succumbed to after-effects of chemo. They tell me I would have probably developed it within the next 10 or 15 years. My mom is diabetic so I was aware that I was at risk as well. The physical stress of chemo just hastened things a bit.
Coming out of cancer treatment only to develop another disease, it would have been easy to turn to God and say, "Why?" I remembered though, that my life was in His hands and thanked Him that they truly did catch this disease immediately. I am thankful that although I have it, the disease is being managed and I am being watched over very carefully by several doctors.
Can anything "good" come out of this? Well... I have become more conscientious of things like diet and exercise. That's a good thing! Today, I was reminded to something else when I was at the medical clinic today being seen for a couple of "issues" I have. One of the chemo drugs I took can cause permanent neuropathy in the feet and hands. I have it in both feet and in my left hand. It also caused permanent damage to the nails on my feet. These damaged nails can be difficult to care for and no, going down to your local nail salon doesn't do it.
More than a year ago, I voiced my frustration to my doctor. Immediately she issued orders for me to be able to receive footcare from a nurse every eight weeks. Then she said something rather interesting. "They are really clamping down on this service but since you have chemo-induced neuropathy AND you are a diabetic as well, you qualify for this service... free of charge."
After seeing the foot nurse today, I headed downstairs to the dental clinic. I was having a consultation with a specialist about some dental work I need to have done. I knew it was going to be expensive and my dental insurance... well... dental insurance is not greatest. My husband had similar work done a few years ago and I knew I'd be facing a hefty bill even with the insurance and now that I'm not working. Sigh...
After going over the procedure with me, the specialist suddenly grinned at me. "You know, there is a special clause in your dental insurance policy which relates to diabetic patients."
"Normally, you would be charged a percentage for this procedure but because you are a diabetic with this condition, the procedure is covered 100%. Your cost will only be $42.00 for a follow-up visit the end of March."
Am I trying to say diabetes is a good thing or that it comes from God? No, I am not. Like cancer, it is a terrible and deadly disease if left untreated. However, I am reminded once again that I do not see the whole picture. There are things God delivers us from and there are things He allows us to endure. I must just simply trust that God has me... no matter what!
"...God does not owe us any explanation."
How easily we forget this! Like Jesus, when we accept the Father's will we are made free.
Thanks for this important reminder K.
Grace to you,
Oh K, it is such a hard lesson! I have not completely learned it yet. I like to think that I have progressed to the point of (occasionally begrudging) acceptance that God knows best and sometimes that means I just have to deal with the unpleasant, the painful, the heartbreaking.
Great blog, K!