Getting Mad @ God

A friend of mine recently wrote on his Myspace Blog this great question:

Sometimes I truely feel like getting good and upset with God. I don’t understand the things He allows. Part of me feels guilty, like I should be a good Christian boy and roll with the punches like Job. Granted, I’m not to the point that Job’s friends were advising him to be: I’m not a the “curse God and die” stage, but I still have questions.

See, my brother’s daughter, my innocent little neice, has been diagnosed with glaucoma, and by the time it was discovered, she has already lost over 50% of her vision in one eye and can only see with tunnel vision. It seems God has given her grace beyond her years to deal with this because she has the best, sweetest attitude of any person, adult or child alike, that I’ve ever met. Appartenly this is something that’s been developing since childhood. The irony is that between her brother and sister, she’s always been the one to appreciate the beauty in the simple things of this world. ie, an “intresting blade of grass”. She’s also the one who’s been most into art and drawing. No matter what has come her way, she’s been positive and an encouragement to others around her. 

Why does this have to happen to her? I know my pre-packaged Christian answer that directs me to look at the example of Job, but somehow that doesn’t seem to make it make any more sense.

Pray for her healing.

Here is my response… May we continue to pray for the niece who seems to be revealing a side of God’s character:

Great question Brad!

Not that I claim to have all the answers, but I have been faced with this question myself many times (both in my own life and in the lives of others). The question comes down to, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Or even, “Why do bad things happen… period?”

When I was about 13/14 years old, I hated life. I literally wanted to die. I had just moved from my closest peeps for the third time. I had been living in the woods of New England and now I was living downtown St. Louis, MO. And my “M.O.” was everything but city living. AND I had to start wearing a tie to the Catholic private school that I was attending. I was straight up depressed. I had no friends and could not understand why if there even was a God, why He would allow life to suck so bad. Not too long after I became and atheist, denouncing the existence of God all together. Some years passed and after a chain of events I could not explain away by mere coincidence, I moved into the agnostic realm beliving that there had to be something out there greater than my puny backside (if speaking in algebraic terms it would look like:[ ____?_____ > my puny az]). After some searching through Rastafarianism, Buddhism, Shinto-ism, etc. I came to conviction that Jesus was what He claimed to be “The Way, The Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6).

But that still doesn’t answer why bad things happen to good people. Why your niece, as precious as she is with such a great outlook on life, would be stricken by something so bad. Here is my understanding:

1. After God created the earth, with everything in it, including two naked people (one male and one female) He in many respects let nature take its course. In so doing, He gave humankind freedom of choice and whether you believe they ate an apple or a mango or a carrot, the bottom line is that our fore-parents decided to turn their backs on God and do their own thang.
2. Many people see God as some vindictive God with a Gatlin Gun ready to destroy sinners for their bad behavior. The Bible (which I have come to believe is a book that reveals to us God’s character) would say otherwise. Even in the Garden of Eden, God comes running back to His creation, and the creation decided to run and hide (much like you and me when we screw up or do the very thing that we promised ourselves, others, and God that we would never do again). So when we hide, God initiates restoring the relationship, which to me would indicate that God is a God of love rather than vengeance and wrath.
3. Still the question remains, why does bad things happen to good people? My understanding is simply that God, being a God of love, honors our freedom of choice. Our fore-parents opted to turn their backs on God and do things their way. Ever since, we’ve been following their pattern as it seems innate in us to rebel. But God permits it to continue on. We may ask the question, “Well then, why doesn’t God just snuff sin/rebellion out and start over?” He could do that, but it seems that He is permitting sin to run its course and in my opinion He is allowing it to take place so that we will taste the full measure of what sin has to offer and never desire it again. All this to say that your nieces ailments are occurring, not because God is sticking her down or punishing her, but because He is allowing sin to manifest itself completely on this earth. And along with sin, comes sickness, defects, and streaks of bad luck that we just can’t explain.

I am not sure if this provides any help to the matter at hand. From what I can tell about Jesus, I am fairly positive that His heart is breaking more than any of ours when one of His children face hardships.

In closing, Jesus says, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). It seems to me that we could all benefit from spending time with your niece and learning to see the world through her eyes. My prayer for her is that she holds onto her innocence, creativity and ability to see beauty even in a blade of grass despite her ailment.

“And the world is passing away… but s/he who does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:17).

Prayers ascend…

Posted on by Matthew Gamble in Articles

About Matthew Gamble

Communicator, Consultant, Coach. Founder of a non-profit VagaBondservant Int'l that takes me all over the world exploring the life and teachings of Jesus.

4 Responses to Getting Mad @ God

  1. Don

    In my own struggle along these same lines, the question that follows these answers is: Why do some people get miracles? Why intervene at all? There seems to be only one case where Jesus didn’t give someone their miracle right away, but that ended with a giant miracle when Lazarus came forth. How do you deal with the disappointment when the miracle never arrives?

    • Don

      No follow ups. Bummer!

      • Graceroots Movement

        I just forwarded your questions on to Matthew. I apologize for not following up earlier. I hope to have his response soon.

  2. Matthew Gamble

    Don… my apologies for not responding. This site just launched this year. Hopefully in the near future we will receive automatic updates when people respond or post great questions like yours. We believe the best is yet to come from this ministry and message.

    I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. But below is a thorough, hopefully not too convoluted, explanation of how understand your question.

    The Bible says that God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). In other words, the way that God rolls is not the way that you and I roll. He is different… He knows the end from the beginning, we do not.

    But look at this: Right now there are some very blessed people walking the face of the earth, while innocent children in various parts of the world and dying due to lack of simple clean water and proper nourishment. I don’t get that, I can’t explain that.

    The only way that I am able to sleep at night with these types of questions is that I believe in what I understand is presented in the Bible. The Bible lays out a message that address what you and I struggle with… sin. It started in the Garden of Eden. What I believe is that God, in the beginning, took a risk, primarily revolving around HIS character to all of creation (beyond whats just on this planet). He empowered the young couple, Adam and Eve, to choose whether or not to sin. They opted to go their way and took a bite, choosing to serve their flesh over God. From that point forward, when the young couple procreated, sin was in their bodies, thus spreading to their offspring, it is a chemical change in the body that prevents a person from having the ability, within themselves, to stop sinning. The result of death is sin and decay.

    So what does this have to do with what you’ve asked above? It’s simply that God, upon empowering the human race to join in the creation process, gave them that ability (to procreate) and then allowed the decision to sin, with all of its ramifications, to take its course.

    So to bring this full circle, I cannot claim to know everything about God and why He answers some prayers and not others. Or further, why some miracles happened then that I am not experiencing now (although I’ve heard eye witness accounts of the dead being raised to life). I cannot fully wrap my mind around much of the why, aside from simply trusting that God is in full control, even when He allows sin to run its course on this planet.

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