When things go wrong we’re prone to point the finger of blame, either at God or at some person we think is guilty…
A few weeks ago I wrote a post called “How to shout at God and get away with it”. I owned up to the fact that there have been times when I’ve got pretty angry with God because something bad happened or something-perhaps life in general-didn’t go my way. I suggested that God is not an ogre waiting to pound us into the ground the moment we get frustrated with Him. But there has to be a line between our expression of frustration with Him and prideful arrogance, blasphemy and unbelief, and here I offer the antidote to blame.
Even atheists and skeptics want to blame God for the ills of the world. They use suffering and trouble as their chief witnesses in their case against His existence. If God were really there, they reason, all would be well, the lion would lay down with the lamb, the Muslims and the Jews would cuddle and make up, nobody would get sick or die, and the stock exchange would be through the roof.
Of course it doesn’t make any sense for an atheist to get angry with God, since in their eyes he doesn’t exist. And why do they get angry with Christians? Surely, if we’re “deluded” and wrong about there being a God who loves us, we are to be pitied and helped, not mocked and insulted. The funny thing about this is that if there really is no God, and if we evolved, then suffering, trouble and death are natural facts of life. Suffering and death weed out the weak and give rise to the strong: we should welcome it.
But when a professing Christian blames God, there’s something wrong with his view of God and with his understanding of Scripture.
We forget that Jesus, our Lord, gave himself up to be mocked, beaten and crucified. He invited us all not to a party called “life” where everything will go wonderfully for us, but he invited us to our own crucifixion: he invited us to die to self, to lose our lives, and to give everything away.
That’s the gospel according to the gospels, is it not? We want God to wave his magic wand for us, and He wants us to live and to die for him. If we expect the former, we are trying to create our own god. If we want the true and living God, the one we claim to believe died on the cross for us, the latter should be true. So what’s it to be? We can’t have it both ways-at least, not for long.
Another prime Biblical example is Job. In fact, there is a clear vision within the Job story of what our choice is. Satan wanted to test Job, because God had made life so good for Job that Satan claimed Job was only in it for the money: He was accusing God, in front of the entire spirit world, of soliciting fake faith, and therefore guilty of sin. He claimed that as soon as the party stopped, Job would turn his back on God.
Do we get similarly tested? The testimony of Scripture is that we do. Perhaps –hopefully-not to such a great extent as Job was tested, but tested we are. Jesus said
“In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33).
I’ve written before about some of the Biblical reasons for suffering in our lives and in this world*. We’ve been warned: why don’t we pay attention to that warning? If our God is real, and if He has spoken to us through the Scriptures, we have our marching orders, and while some things in life seem too horrible for any possible explanation, there are really only two choices. Either we give up claiming to be Christians and give up the façade, or we believe what our God has told us, and humble ourselves at His feet, and stop pointing our prideful fingers at Him.