Falsely Defending God

David Leach

Few, if any of us get through this life without very real pain and suffering. The settled view of a wise Christian concerning suffering will be that God is sovereign, and that none of us are promised a problem free walk down the twisting path of life. A Christian who is mature and is familiar with the Scripture will realize that salvation provides no exemption from the various and sundry ills of a fallen world. Nevertheless, living in a hedonistic culture that extols the notion of “the victim,” there is a temptation to feel as though we “deserve better,” and that we ought be excused (since we are such Good Christians) from unpleasant experiences. Have we not placed our welfare in God’s hands after all, and has He not promised us untold blessings and that He cares for us as a Father? If so, whence suffering? Why sorrow? So many of us, when life meets us with darker times are found to utter, not unlike our non-Christian neighbors – “Why me?”

Well…why not you? Has God promised you a pass from disappointment, failure, financial losses, injury or illness? Has He promised you that your children will not die before you or that your spouse will always be faithful? Has God orchestrated a life for you uniquely without sorrow? I rather doubt it.

Since it is true that Christians suffer genuine hardship, difficulty and tragedy in this life…why is it that sometimes other Christians will come to them saying “God had nothing to do with this.” Or, “This is not what God wanted, this is the devil.” Or, “God is on our side, this is just a bad luck, or fate, and not God’s will.” I read recently of a woman who lost her husband and only child in a car accident, and a Christian friend wrote her something like “God didn’t have anything to do with that!” Why do we wish to defend God as though He is hapless and caught unawares and that these dark experiences are not “dark providences” but rather “dark misfortunes” outside the controlling reach of God?

My question is, if God has nothing to do with these bad things, how is He sovereign? How is He omniscient and omnipotent? Those who “defend” God by advising that He is to be exonerated from responsibility in the hard issues in life, do not understand the Scriptures, nor do they understand God aright. I have been at funerals and other places of sorrow where someone has spoken up and said, “This was not God’s will.” Such statements are foolish and ill advised. How does this finite spokesman speak thus for God? How does He pretend to know God’s plans and devices? It is a grand and loving thing to share the burdens of those who suffer with the grief of loss and disappointment, but it is harmful, and ignorant to try to soften the hardness of grief and sorrow with a false exoneration of God. God neither needs nor solicits our complete understanding of His purposes in such matters. God is dishonored when we seek to defend and explain Him by suggesting he cannot direct and control His creation. Seize any opportunity where men find failure in God to instruct them more perfectly: God is sovereign, even in the dark places.