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Why? Or why not?


Pastor Dick Nichols

Cedar Creek Community Church

2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta

 

You can be sure that at least once in everyone’s life, something so difficult and painful will happen that we will ask “God … why?” So many things in life seem unexplainable; why does a tornado destroy one house and leave another untouched? Why does one brother prosper while another struggles all of his life? Why did the tumor come back when the doctor said he thought he got it all? We all have these types of questions in this life; the list is endless.

Sometimes we encounter circumstances, events and situations that make it seem like the entire world is collapsing around us. Things make no sense at all. And, if there is a purpose behind it, we can’t see it. So, we will turn to the Bible for comfort and read scripture like “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, New International Version).

Before my wife and I accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, there were some painful and difficult events in our family, and we heard this verse quoted to us more than once from well-meaning friends, and we didn’t find any consolation in it. Now that Jesus is our Lord, we have an understanding that we couldn’t have before.

Do all things work together for good? My answer to this question is now an emphatic YES! But there still remains the inevitable question “are all things good?” that can only be answered emphatically NO! The difference is that we know now that the Lord can turn harrowing circumstances around and literally cause everything to work together for good. It’s tough for many of us to grab hold of the idea that God doesn’t let anything go to waste in our lives. He has a purpose and a reason for everything that happens in the lives of his followers and will even use the bad and difficult things to produce good on our behalf.

I do not have to tell you that Romans 8:28 is one of the most beloved verses in the Bible. But there are times when this verse is misused and is thrown at those suffering, as if it could answer every question in life. That is the opposite of what Paul the apostle intended. Some people think that after a tragedy, God will show up and make everything come out o.k. Then, when life’s wrinkles don’t get ironed out, they wonder “where was God when…?”

That is not the biblical view at all. In reality we know now that God is there at the beginning, and God is there at the end, and he is there at every point in between. Simply put, this scripture lets Christians know that God was there before it all happened and he is still there when it is over, and that his plan is to serve a higher purpose and bring about good results.

The Bible never asks us to pretend that tragedy isn’t tragedy, or to pretend that our pain isn’t real. The point is, we must see the active involvement of God in our circumstances. Paul taught, in Romans 5:3-4, that a believer’s faith and character must be refined, purified and tempered in order to grow and reach greater levels of maturity for God so he can make us into what he wants us to be, to do what he has called us to do.

The Lord allows assorted troubles, trials, and temptations to test our faith and spiritual character so that we can grow closer to our Lord. You will never face any trial that you and Jesus cannot overcome. This does not mean that we will evade such trouble; it means that with him, we will be able to bear them.

Scripture does not say that whatever happens is good, or that suffering and evil and tragedy are good, or that we will be able to understand why God allows what he allows in our lives. Instead, God puts a sign over us that reads: “Patience, God is at work.” As in any construction project, don’t judge the end by the beginning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why oh why?


Pastor Dick Nichols
Cedar Creek Community Church
2969 14 Mile Road, Sparta

“Why” is one of the most puzzling words in our language. It isn’t generally the first word a baby learns to say, but just wait, it will become one of the most used words you will hear throughout the years of raising a child, and especially from our grandchildren. And because of our inquisitive nature, it seems that “why” remains with us through the rest of our lives. Having just completed a memorial service, it is a fresh reminder to me of how many times I have heard this short question inserted into all types of conversations.
Why do people ask why?
As children, this world is a place of wonderment that really needs to be discovered.  The word “why” is our most functional approach to learning new things, and when we process the answer, (if we get one,) we can then decide to pursue “why” deeper (which is the beginning of innovation) or let it go for now.  And there is no doubt in my mind that our great nation has benefitted since its founding by the question “why can’t we?”  Thus, this little word that can sometimes be so annoying when we hear it over and over, is definitely advantageous to all of us individually and as a nation.
Sometimes though, the why of it isn’t really what we want to know even though we may ask anyway.     I believe that as we get older, the question why becomes more like the examples we see in the Bible, meaning that we are mostly interested in finding out whose fault it is.
Our faith contains many examples of people who asked this question. Think of the trials of Job in the Old Testament, loss of health, the loss of all his children, along with his material wealth, left him in a position of asking God why.  He had the counsel of his wife and his friends, which in the end they were merely trying to establish that it was Job’s fault, that he had somehow done something that had really gotten God ticked off.  Ultimately Job asked God why, and surprisingly God answered him.  God’s statement to Job is what we really need to hear. Simply put, in my paraphrase, God said, “God is God. Job, you’re not God, so trust me.” Yes, sometimes that is it.
Jesus was told of the atrocities that were taking place under Pilate (Luke 13:1-5 KJV). Jesus knew what the underlying question was (it was why) and replied “Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
Stuff happens in life. Bad things and good things happen to everyone, and yes there are times we can easily identify why. Jesus’ point to us is that there is something more important than the things that happen to us while we’re here on earth. The prophet Isaiah states “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” (Isaiah 55:6 KJV)
Life is not to be understood, any more than God can be fully understood.  There is a peace to be found in Jesus Christ, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 KJV)
That is why!

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