Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Why is it that Nothing Bad ever happens to Christ Followers?
I can hear the arguments to this already, so please hear me out. I know at first consideration, most Christians will fall into one of two camps. The first being the Romans 8:28 camp. These folks say they know where I am going with this…everything works for the good of those who love God. The second camp is populated with the Matthew 5:45 folks. They believe I am mistaken, and are ready to remind me that God causes the sun to rise and fall on the good and the evil, and that the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. To both camps I say…sit down around the campfire and hear me out.
Allow me to ask a few questions. Is God love? Is God good? Is God all powerful? Is God all knowing? Is God everywhere all the time? Is God unchangeable? If you answered “Yes” to each of these questions, good, that response is in fact true for each of the questions I posed. 1 John 4:16 says And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Psalm 100:5 tells us of His goodness. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations. As to the question of being all powerful, Colossians 1:15-17 says this He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. These verses essentially say that Jesus is powerful enough to have created everything…not only what we see, taste, smell, hear or can touch, but also all of the powers that be…both those we would call good and bad. He is all powerful…he made everything, nothing made Him nor can anything move Him off His course. God is also all knowing. Romans 11:33 says of Him, Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! God’s wisdom and knowledge is so great, that ours has no way of understanding or measuring His. As it should be…the Creator is unfathomable to the created. God is also everywhere all the time. Proverbs 15:3 says The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. Finally, Is God unchangeable? Yes! Psalm 102:27 says, “But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.” And one of the most comforting of all scriptures, Hebrews 13:8 states, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Why these questions? Because I am reminded by a book I am reading right now that God is big. You might think that a book with such a message would be unnecessary, except that we have managed to make Him too small in order to try to understand Him. The problem with that is that it is only in trying to capture just a glimpse of His BIGNESS that we can ever come to really know Him. God is BIG…REALLY, REALLY BIG! HUMONGOUS in fact. BIG, BEYOND OUR ABILITY TO COMPREHEND!
So, what does any of this have to do with my original question…Why is it that nothing bad ever happens to Christ followers? God is so BIG and yet, He cares about little ol’ me and you. Psalm 8:4 asks the question, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? The Psalmist is asking the question with the recognition that God does in fact care about the itty bitty man He in all of His unmeasurable BIGNESS created. God’s word tells us to cast our cares upon Him because He cares about us. (1 Peter 5:7) God is in fact too big to comprehend, yet, intimately concerned with the condition of His creation, right down to the life of a single sparrow valued at a couple of cents. (Matthew 10:29) finally one of my favorite scriptures on the subject, Proverbs 16:9 in the New Living Translation says: We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.
God is all powerful. God is all Knowing. God is everywhere all the time. God is Good…it’s who He is. God is Love…He is not loving so to speak, that would make His actions the result of something greater…He is love…the greatest there is (I Cor. 13) God is unchangeable. Each of these statements stand alone. Any one of them would make God BIG! He is all of them…and more…God is REALLY, REALLY BIG!
Let’s look at one more of God’s superpowers, and wrap this up. Josephs brothers were human traffickers who sold him as the ‘good’ alternative to letting him die of starvation in a pit they had thrown him into. They then perpetrated a decades long cruelty on their own father by watching him mourn the loss of Joseph though they knew he had not died a horrible death in the wilderness. Years later, a forgiving Joseph told his brothers that what they had done out of pure unadulterated evil, God had used for good. Later in scripture we read other examples of God using evil to fulfill His good plans. The hard heart of the Pharaoh was used by God to bring freedom to His people. Later there were evil kings of Israel and Judah who would be used by God to bring the people back to Himself. God used the evilness of a godless man, Haman to set His people free to go back to the promised land and once again serve Him. Perhaps the greatest evil of all time…the Pharisees decision to conspire to murder the Son of God…He used to redeem the world from sin and forevermore make available the road to restoration with Himself! God is SO BIG that evil does not for one Nano-second deter His ability to weave it right into the accomplishment of His perfect plans.
That superpower of God, to use the evilness of man, to accomplish the good and perfect will of God is what allows for scriptures like Matthew 5:45 to be correct. God does allow the sun to rise on the good and the evil, He does in fact allow the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike. Both desirable and undesirable things happen to everybody. Our ability as humans to freely choose to act out of godliness or godlessness can and does cause evil to permeate every corner of our lives, much of it not by our own choosing. All of it, is not only able, but completely suitable to be used by our God to bring about good in our lives if we love Him and allow ourselves to be led by His purposes just like Romans 8:28 promises. Yes God is BIG enough to be in both camps!
So now, regardless of what may be happening in your world, understand this. As a Christ follower God loves little ol’ you too much to ever let anything (permanently) bad happen to you…so Go be awesome!