It's God's Fault! (Or Is It?)
I've had more than a few conversations with people who were going through hard times, who desperately threw the whole thing on God. "I don't know why God saw fit to put me through this." or "I hope God knows what He's doing."
On more than one occasion I've counseled people who were stuck in a loop of bad choices with worse outcomes, and they will say to me, "I don't know why God doesn't take away these temptations. Whey does God allow me to be tempted like this?"
There's this underlying assumption about God's involvement in the way we are tempted, tested and tried that I think has disjointed the way we understand God. I heard a prominent Christian author and preacher say, "If God brought you to it, God will get you through it."
The assumption at the foundation of that quote and others like it, is that God is directly involved in our temptation and testing. While there are certainly plenty of passages of Scripture in the Bible to indicate that God allows his children to be shaped by their mistakes, we would not assume that God is the source of every temptation, every trial or tribulation we go through in life.
James, the brother of Jesus, wrote about this very thing:
"When people are tempted, they should not say, 'God is tempting me.' Evil cannot tempt God, and God himself does not tempt anyone. But people are tempted when their own evil desire leads them away and traps them." (James 1:13-14)
I have often said that I don't believe that God causes all things. Because God does not coerce his love from us, we have free will to choose how we will or will not relate to God. And because of this, we are free to act against our own best interests and often against the best interests of others.
God may not cause all things, but I do believe that God is present in all things. Even when I make mistakes, give in to temptation, or find myself tested because of the actions of others, God is present in those moments. God is near, never far away.
And God is ready to resurrect and make everything new--all of the mistakes, the broken promises, the guilt over giving in to temptation... all of it. If I am willing to turn to Him and embrace the new life He offers through His Son, Jesus, God is eager to envelop me in his grace and the joy of new life offered by God to us out of His unconditional and relentless love for us.
According to James, "God decided to give us life through the word of truth (meaning Jesus) so that we might be the most important of all the things he made." (James 1:18)
May you be filled with a sense of your importance in the eyes of the Almighty God. May you realize that because of Jesus, the wreckage over your mistakes and the mistakes of others can be redeemed and restored. May you find the strength to stop wondering what God is up to, and instead embrace the God who is near, ready to make you new.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.