Does God Use Tragedy To Manipulate
Jesus revealed that God never instigates nor manipulates a tragedy to grow faith, that’s not what a good Father does. But it is what a controlling God would do.
A good Father works all things for good to those who say yes to His love. Working all things for good is what the authority of Love looks like. Jesus didn’t come to earth to reveal that God is in control; He came to reveal the authority of our Father’s always-good love. God is not in control, He is Love and Love has all authority. His love is sovereign.
To suggest God assists in evil things happening to us for our own good is to suggest that God partners with the enemy to grow our faith. It’s ridiculous. He is either always good or He is bipolar.
I wonder if we have such a rash of bipolar in the western world because the church teaches a controlling God who is always good except when isn’t.
Often the Bible is interpreted through our experience instead of His Love. We allow our intellect, our observations, and our experience to mold our belief regarding the nature of God. But He is light; there is no darkness in Him! He is always good, regardless of our experiences. And when we live in this conviction we have the keys, the freedom to see Him as He truly is. Scripture confirms it, the life of Jesus, perfect theology, confirms it. “God is love,” “God is light and there is no darkness in Him.”
However, if we are not convinced that God is love and the perfection of His love is the fullness of His authority, if we aren’t convinced that God is love and His love is perfectly good, if we think God is controlling, even a little bit, then we are forced to navigate our faith journey with a Bipolar God.
I have heard this controlling bipolar God taught for far too long.
Recently a preacher raised a question is his message that insinuated that Jesus allowed Lazarus to die in order to get the most “bang for the buck” regarding Mary and Martha’s faith. He asked a question, “What encourages your faith more, healing before you die or resurrection after you’re dead?”
The premise behind the question is based on the idea that God is in control. And the premise behind the question is horribly wrong!
It suggests that God played a role in Lazurus’ death so he could then capitalize on Mary and Martha’s tragedy. It makes God complicit in Lazurus’ death all so He can then manipulate their circumstance to grow faith. What kinda good Father would do this?
When we read our Bible through the lens of control, we let the circumstances in this story determine God’s nature. If circumstances determine God’s nature we will find ourselves asking questions that compromise the perfect love revealed in Jesus. It’s a dangerous road to travel, one that doesn’t lead to life.
The controlling God premise behind the preacher’s question, “what encourages your faith more,” actually undermines faith.
If we aren’t convinced of an always good and perfect Love, if we aren’t convinced in the sovereignty of Love, we will read the Bible through the lens of control, we will see our relationship with God through the lens of control, our relationships, our motivations, our security will suffer. We will be forced to partner with tragedy because, who knows, it could just be God’s will.
Roman 8:28 says, “God works all things for the good of those who love him…” That’s not a description of what He does, it’s a description of His love nature – the authority and power of sovereign Love.
The scripture doesn’t say God allows bad things to happen so we can have more faith. It says He is redeeming all things, even the bad things, to good.
He is a Relentless Redeemer.
The fact that Mary and Martha grew exponentially in faith through Lazarus’s death and resurrection was the evidence of His goodness, not the evidence of a God with a bipolar nature; a God who partners with death in one moment only to raise the dead in the next.
When we think God instigates and then builds our faith through tragedy, we are letting our circumstances define the nature of God. Suddenly we are forced to live in a relationship with a BiPolar God. And a BiPolar God is a God who can’t be trusted. And when our trust is compromised, then intimacy with God either becomes a principle or a concept instead of an experience.
He works all things to good to those who love Him, He redeems and restores. Why? Because He is perfectly good and He can’t help but work things to good to those that say yes to His love. That’s His sovereign love nature.
Say yes to His love today. Feel confident in His affection. He is restoring and redeeming all things!
Jason Clark is a writer, speaker and lead communicator at A Family Story Ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children.
YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE…
As a kid, I listened in earnest when this parable was preached. You see, I really wanted to be good soil. But I could do the math well enough to realize the odds were against me, cause 3 out of 4 soils suck.
It seems 75% of all soil is in for some bad news. But there was also good news, for 25% of us. And that was the gospel I was raised in.
A lot of those early formative prayers could be boiled down to “Dear God, I was bad soil again today, please help me beat the odds tomorrow, amen”
Co-Author of A Church Called TOV, Scot McKnight talks about his new book written in response to the abuses of power, sexual abuse, and spiritual abuse within the leadership of Willow Creek, Harvest, and sadly churches of all shapes and sizes.
We talked about TOV (which means goodness) and how when we practice empathy, compassion, extending grace, putting people first, telling the truth, promoting justice, and serving others, TOV emerges in the culture and we all become more Christlike.
I remember the first time I heard the term ‘deconstruction.’ While I grasped the metaphor, the word didn’t resonate with me.
I’ve certainly done some spiritual deconstructing in my life, but I am inclined to use a descriptor more in line with ‘reconstruction.’ This is partly because I’m a ‘glass half full’ guy; at least, I want to be. But also, my spiritual journey has been less about what I tore down, and more about what replaced it.