Skip to content

God’s Perfect Plan

July 8, 2016

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard tragic events described as part of “God’s perfect plan” but I can tell you it is a lot and every time I hear it I winceThere are variations on this statement of course.

  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • God sends suffering to refine us, to make us depend on Him.
  • It is a blessing in disguise.
  • God will use this to bring glory to Himself.
  • God is teaching us or even (wincing as I type it) chastising us.

There is a branch of evangelicalism that insists that God is the active agent in everything that happens.  A child gets eaten by an alligator?  God’s perfect plan.  Killings in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas?  God’s perfect plan.  And on and on.

I can follow the theological train tracks that adherents of this view use as they chug through the Bible, I truly can.  It is easy to pull verses from around the Bible and assemble them into a pile of proof texts to say that God plans all our pain in miniscule detail solely for His own self-glorifying purpose.  The problem is that it is hard to praise that God.  I can’t help but say that if our theological conclusions horrify us over and over we need to rethink those conclusions.

If we are unwilling to do that then, at the very least, we need to keep those conclusions to ourselves when children die of cancer; when a 15-year-old sobs uncontrollably because his daddy was shot; when 49 families in Orlando or 5 families in Dallas are mourning loved ones.  No matter what people think about God, when they hear you spouting that stuff they will think, correctly, that you are an unfeeling jerk.  They will surely not be comforted by your idea of God’s perfect plan.

I can’t help but ponder, since we have the promise in Hebrews 1:3 that Jesus is “the exact imprint of his [God’s] nature,” that we need to look at Jesus if we are to understand God.  I don’t see Him doing anything like the horrific things we say will glorify God.  Perhaps we need to hold our conclusions up to be measured by what Jesus actually did and not our own selective pile of Bible clippings.

Can God work through tragic circumstances in ways that are beyond are comprehension?  Sure.  Are there some times that we can look back at heart-breaking things in our lives and see them in a new light?  Also sure.  But we need to be slow to spout are assurances of God’s perfect plan to those who are hurting.

Advertisements

From → Christianity

Leave a Comment

Please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: