Abraham never saw the nation God promised. Isaac and Rebekah’s marriage knew conflict. Jacob’s children caused him sorrow. Israel entered Egypt by invitation but left as slaves. Moses endured much conflict caused by those he led. Samuel’s sons caused Israel to reject God’s leadership. David ran for his life as he fled from King Saul. Solomon allowed his wives to lead him into idolatry. The kings of Northern Israel deserted praising God alone. Isaiah lived in a spiritually sick nation. Jeremiah wished he had never been born. Daniel spent a night with hungry lions. Hosea married a prostitute who deserted him—a living parable. Jesus was executed, as was Stephen, James, and [probably] Paul. Many first-century Christians (for their faith) lost jobs, relocated, endured misunderstanding, were persecuted, or were martyred.

The myth: if we follow God by placing trust in Jesus Christ, everything physically will be as we like IN THIS LIFE. The CERTAIN WAY to health or wealth is to let God in Christ pull us to our physical dreams. The gospel is all about ME and WHAT I WANT.

The reality: godly people endure and suffer the physically undesirables. Godly people have accidents, wear out, get sick, have diseases, encounter injustices, suffer reverses they did not cause, and physically die.

The why: In this world good and evil are at war. In some way, all that occurs is related to that war. Events are not so simply understood as undesirable things are caused by evil and desirable things are caused by good. Much that occurs in life is beyond our grasp. Blaming God for the highly subjective “I do not like or want” involves a too simplistic understanding of God, power, or Satan.

The understanding: While this world is centered on the war between good and evil, God’s world is centered on good in the complete absence of evil. Thus, life is a choice and an investment that leads to existence in God’s world. By learning God’s priorities, values, characteristics, and human behaviors consistent with Jesus, we are prepared for existence in God’s world. By understanding that God’s purposes are bigger than us, we are strengthened and sustained by His mercy and grace.

“... If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 14 February 2010

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