Instead of questioning God’s will when tough times hit, we need to turn all things over to the One who already has won heaven for us.
If you watch children out on a playground, you may hear one of them shout, “It’s not fair.” If you were to listen in on a family squabble between two siblings fighting over who got the bigger piece of pie, you may hear the words again.
Unfortunately, this immature behavior follows us into our adult years. The will of God is difficult for us to understand. Why does he seem so unfair? We are unable to comprehend the ways of an infinite God with our finite minds. So how do Christians submit to the will of God when our sinful natures tell us, “It’s not fair”?
Fair means to be just, equitable, or honest. No one is capable of perfectly following through with these qualities because our sinful natures get in the way. Sin has infected us, and all our seemingly righteous acts are corrupt. We fall into the trap of believing that we have control over the outcomes in our lives based on what we do. Life seems fair when that happens. But when life seems to be dishing out unfair treatment, we are quick to point fingers. When the life-altering challenges happen, we ask God why he would allow such things to happen.
When we question the will of God, we are reverting back to our childish behavior on the playground and basically telling God that we think he is not fair. But who are we to question a perfectly just God? God did not promise that life would be fair according to our idea of equality. However, God did promise that he will always be there in times of trouble.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
My husband and I recently had a lesson of our own regarding control. This past June, we heard the news that no one wants to hear: “Sir, I’m sorry to tell you, but you have cancer.”
Oh, the emotions and questions that flashed through our minds. How bad is it? Is chemotherapy necessary? How will we pay for this? How do we tell the kids? What did I do to get this disease? What didn’t I do that I got this disease? How many tumors? Did it metastasize? Is it curable?
Then came the question, “God, why is this happening to us?” Notice what happened. We initially thought about all of the things we could do to gain control of the situation. Once we realized that we did not have control, we questioned God. It seemed that God became the problem when we lost control.
We soon realized that we needed to push all of these earthly worries aside; all that we truly needed was God. He is the one in control and has promised to work all things for the good of those who love him, according to his purpose.
Cancer taught us that we have a long road ahead, but we are confident in God’s plan for us. We have been blessed beyond measure in so many ways. God’s providence became apparent in the people and circumstances that God prepared to help us handle this terrible time in our lives. We are able to look beyond the cancer and see what God has set in place for us. People who are able to help. Self-sufficient children. Short-term disability at work. Skilled doctors. Summers off from teaching. Family that lives nearby.
God provides and continues to bless his people. “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15). “Deliver us” does not necessarily mean that my husband will be cured, but God already delivered us from sin and eternal death. The more we focus on heavenly things, the easier it becomes to put our trust and hope in Jesus and turn all things over to him. We find peace and confidence in knowing that although we are in the midst of a battle on earth, Christ has won the ultimate battle for us. That’s what matters.
GOD’S LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL
Do I think a cancer diagnosis isn’t fair? Not really. I’ll tell you what’s not fair. We have a God that loves us unconditionally. He chases after us even though we continually turn our backs on him. When we don’t get our way, we doubt his will for us. We deny him when we are pressed by unbelievers. And yet he still loves us.
Do you know what else is not fair? The fact that Jesus died for every single one of our sins although he lived a perfect life and did not deserve the punishment. It’s just not fair that he should take our punishment for us.
I always thought that testing faith meant that God allows something to happen to us so that he can see if we will remain faithful. It took a crisis for me to see that God allows things to happen to us so we have the opportunity to test our own faith. He knows if the life events will make us or break us well before the situation happens. We have the option to turn to God when we are in trouble or turn away from him. I do have many times when I feel distraught over the thought of living this life without my husband or envisioning my children living without their father. But as hard and painful as it is, I am sure that God will get us through any situation. His will is for us to come to him. He is always there, waiting, with his arms wide open.
What good can come from cancer? It drew my husband and me closer to God and closer to each other. It made us see all of the earthly blessings that we took for granted because we were too busy wishing for more. Knowing that we do not have control over cancer showed us that God is in control and his ways are best.
On the day of the first appointment with the oncologist, we brought God with us as we began this new journey. We pulled into the parking garage, turned off the engine, held hands, and read our wedding verse: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7). We entered that office knowing that the two of us did not have to go through this alone. We trust in God’s promise that he will never leave us or forsake us.
During our darkest times, when we thought we couldn’t handle it anymore, we have learned to lean on God. He is the only one who can calm our fears, give us strength, and fill us with his peace.
Christine Rindfleisch is a teacher and a member at St. John, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.
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Author: Christine Rindfleisch
Volume 103, Number 4
Issue: April 2016
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