We’ve all said it. In times of adversity, stress or strife, in moments of anger frustration and weakness, we’ve all thrown our hands up, turned our heads heavenward and asked “Why does God hate me?”. In times of suffering, when we’re at our worst, when we’re afflicted by trauma, injury, illness or bereavement it can feel as though we have been singled out by Him and burdened with experiences we don’t deserve. We rail against these adverse circumstances. We bemoan the inequity and unfairness of our situation and covetously look to our friends and neighbors who seem to have such perfect, worry-free lives. We wonder why we specifically have been singled out for such trials and ordeals. This blog can’t claim to have all the answers, but it can hope to offer some perspective…
We understand God like a cat understands the internet
One of my favorite reflections on theology came from an unlikely source, British comedian Russell Brand. Brand has been extremely candid throughout his career about his own struggles with addiction, and in a podcast interview with Kevin Smith a few years ago, he talked about his relationship with faith. The way he put it was “I think we understand God in the same way that my cat understands the internet.”. While we tend to anthropomorphize God and ascribe human traits to Him, we won’t fully understand his methods until we get to Heaven and transcend the limitations of the physical world. The Bible has Brand’s back, too, especially when it comes to understanding what Thessalonians describes as “the mystery of iniquity.” Bad things happen to good people, and we don’t know why for sure… But rather than telling ourselves that we’ve been singled out for divine punishment, there are far more constructive ways to look at it.
In times of hardship, God gives us a responsibility
When we’re affected by adverse circumstances, I like to think that this is God’s way of giving us a responsibility. When this happens, we rail against it, decry it as unfair and wonder why others don’t have to endure the same thing. Now, isn’t that exactly how our kids act when we give them responsibilities like household chores? If we are injured on the sidewalk by a negligent driver, for example, we can bemoan this as unfair, or we can take responsibility and provide others with a positive example. We can seek justice by consulting a personal injury lawyer- click here for more info- and give the party at fault the opportunity to atone while seeking justice for yourself and your family. We can show all around us our strength of character as we heal and we can model our faith for others and show them how it pulls us through.
God loves you, even when you don’t see it
Just as he loved Job, God loves you. We may not always feel His love in ways we can fathom or understand, and sometimes we don’t perceive the value of his lessons until long after we have received them. But God loves you and seeks to enrich our lives and strengthen our characters by giving us lessons and formative experiences.
It’s up to us to decide what we learn from them.