Warning: rambling, incoherent post ahead – I’m writing this while I have “the Funk.” Not the Bootsy Collins, Parliament Funkadelic Funk, but the “Why is it I exist again?” Funk.
Indirect consequences are hard to understand – bad things happen every minute of every hour of every day in every village, town, city, state, nation, region… sometimes they make ‘sense’ to us through whatever lens we use to interpret life’s happenings, good & bad. A lot of the time they don’t. When bad things happen for which we see no ‘direct’ cause, especially to people that don’t ‘deserve’ it (as though there are some that really, truly should be afflicted with cancer. Loss of loved ones. Freak accidents. Bad news. you get the picture.) we want to know the WHY. Why is this happening?
It becomes a focal point for us to work through what we believe about God – & often our ideas of who God is & what He should be doing… because we view God as the One who saves us from bad stuff. We obey Him, we serve Him, because its like a ‘get out of trouble’ card or an exemption from the suffering that plagues the rest of humanity. We see it as “we do our part, obey, & then He does His part: provide, protect, avenge, heal, restore, etcetera.” When life doesn’t happen like that, we wonder what we’re doing “wrong.” Or what others have done wrong. Or why God is seemingly sleeping on the job, allowing, or even worse, causing bad stuff to happen. Or at least not intervening when He could have.
This is where indirect consequences come in. And a misunderstanding about God & His nature. And the temporary, finite world that we live in. And what love is.
Here’s my take on the WHY or origin of Bad Things:
And in the middle of it, God did not & has not abandoned us – from the beginning, He has been the solution to our sin – & He purposefully intersected humanity with the Cross of Christ – which changes everything, not just in the temporary finite world we live in, but for eternity.
He never leaves or abandons us – He stays with us even when we’re in the middle of what seems to be the pit of despair – He is our Comfort, our Shelter, our Rock, our Fortress, our Hope, our Inheritance. He has placed Himself squarely in the middle of life’s bad things – God WITH us. Immanu’El.
i watched sweeny todd last night. in one scene a crooked judge just sentenced a prisoner to death by hanging. when he asked someone in the know, after the fact, if the prisoner had actually done it, the response was basically “if he didn’t, he’s surely done something for which he should be hanged.”
the judge replied, “what man hasn’t?”
in a way, we could argue we all deserve to die of cancer and have horrible things happen to us, and any good is the result of grace. that’s a bit more bleak than i care to be so early in the day — and it doesn’t make it any easier to process the bad things simply knowing we deserve them. (if you don’t believe me on that point, ask my oldest daughter.)
This is a subject ‘why do bad things happen’ that often has come up with extended family. I struggle to even find a place to start as they don’t believe God exists in the first place. Guess our lives will have to tell the story. We are learning much from this series.
Ironically enough, as I am writing this comment, I am also watching Sweeney Todd… I have to agree with diga that it could be said that we ALL deserve to have bad things happen and it is only by God’s grace that they don’t. I’m not usually that cynical, though.
I find encouragement in knowing that God DOES intervene when bad things happen, even though it’s not in the way that we would expect or ask. If He did not, we could not bear the weight of the bad things that happen because of sin.
I like this series.