“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens; He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17
Many of us have heard that God is in control. Even those who don’t believe have probably heard this. But what about when something bad happens? Disaster strikes, a diagnosis is given, a loved one is lost… then what? Did God make that happen? How do we reconcile that an all powerful, loving God is allowing things like cancer, murder and rape to happen?
God IS good. So then do we blame everything bad that happens on the devil? We do have an enemy. He would love nothing more than to keep us from fulfilling the divine calling on our lives. However, I think the devil gets too much credit. Scripture says he is a liar and a tempter. His tricks have not changed over the years. I’m sure he’d love to take credit for everything we blame him for.
The fact is people have free will. God loves us so much that He gave us the freedom to choose. In the very beginning, when God created humans, He designed us with free will. He put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden so that they would have the opportunity to choose to love and be in relationship with Him. He walked and talked with them every evening. They were naked [vulnerable] before Him and each other. And THAT was perfection. But they chose to disobey the one rule God had given them. That was when sin, illness, shame, and death entered the world. That is the moment when God allowed all the bad things to happen. Now let’s get one thing straight. God never wanted evil things to happen. He is the source of every good and perfect thing! He is a Good, Good Father! Allowing and wanting are two very different things.
So why give man free will? Why put the “no-no” tree there to begin with? If He knew from the beginning that we would screw His perfect creation up, why give us a choice? Because free will is love. Control of our will is dictatorship. Have you ever been in a controling relationship? I have. And it’s definitely not love. If we were forced to love God and had no options, that would not be real love. Ever heard the saying, “If you love something, let it go?” God invented that. God’s love is perfect. Which means He loves us enough to give us the freedom to make mistakes. He sadly watches as we fumble and abuse ourselves and each other. He painfully allows us to choose to deny His very existence. Not because He is helpless or standing idly by, but because He loves us enough to allow us to make choices and mistakes. Sometimes peoples’ free will even hurts others.
But here’s the good news: God is in the business of redemption! He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate price, buying grace. He paid to redeem our stories. There is nothing so broken it is beyond God’s healing touch! His mercy and grace are everlasting. You may think you’ve messed up too much for God to fix it. Or that others have damaged you beyond repair. But that IS a lie from the devil!
God loves us enough to give us a choice. Because of that there is death, sickness and people who hurt others. Life is messy. But God is not scared of your mess. He loves you so much He sent His Son to die a cruel and painful death so He could get in the middle of our messes. God didn’t kill Jesus. Religious people did. We did. But God allowed it, not because He wanted it, but because He would then use it for our redemption.
When you read scripture through the lense of a loving parent, you will see that the story of the humanity unfolded in the Bible, is not one of a vengeful God, just waiting to bop us on the head. Instead it is a story of a Father Who loves us enough to give us a choice. Like any good parent, He allows us to stumble (a lot) in order to learn how to take wabbly steps towards Him.
Today, run into your loving Father’s arms. He’s waiting for you to make that choice so He can finally heal and repair all your brokenness!