2 February 2014
I have a tendency to hold God responsible for everything that happens in my life. When something great happens or when things are going well, i praise Him and feel thrilled about having a good God. But when things go less well, or problems surface, i am provoked to hold God responsible too and ask – why God? I suppose it’s only natural and “fair” to associate with God both the good and the bad things in life.
But today i was challenged to re-think if it was actually right to hold God responsible for the problems i face in life. i imagined a father and his child going through life together. Although the father loved the child more than anything in the world, the child was still going to face the consequences of his own actions and also have to deal with the disappointments in life that are beyond that child’s control. It would be absurd for example, if the grown up son was to one day be fired from his company, and then call his father to ask him why the company let him go? The father was not the one responsible for getting his son fired and had no control whether it was due to his own son’s fault or because of unfair politics. The father would only be able to say, “Son, i know you’re upset, i am able to come meet with you now and we can just hang out and we can go through this together. I’m here for you anytime.” If only i saw God, my Father, more like this sometimes, i would be less prone to throwing my disappointments in life at God and ask Him – why God? how could you let this happen to me?
Certainly, the example above is an extremely simplified example, but i think it does have a point to play in the way we interact and see God. God gave us free will, in fact, not only do i have free will, but so does every other person on this planet. It takes no genius to guess that somewhere down the road, someone is going to make a mess and that mess would affect everyone else too. Would God and should God intervene to prevent mistakes from happening? Well, wouldn’t that be an affront to the purpose and meaning of “free will” He gave us in the first place? Did we put ourselves in the position we face now or did God put us here? I would place my bet on the former. So isn’t it wonderful that we can go to God like a child goes to his father, and say, God, i screwed up here and made such a mess, it’s my fault and i know that the consequences of face now are the result of the choices i made. I’m sorry, would you be able to forgive and help me start over again?
There are other disappointments in life that may have nothing to do with anyone else – no one’s fault, for example, a stillborn child, natural disasters and illness. Was there a purpose to that? Was it the result and consequence of free will or a fallen world we live in? Perhaps not. Perhaps it isn’t a purpose we can comprehend now. Perhaps we mistakenly think if we just know the reason why something happened, we would feel better. But would we? Would we really feel better just because we know exactly why something happened? Rarely. We actually need comfort more than anything over our hurt and pain – and asking why it happened is just our way of seeking out closure and comfort.
When i was in kindergarten i remember a scene vividly of me spotting a dead bird against a car number plate in the driveway of my kindergarten. I walked up to it even though my dad tried to pull me back and i couldn’t comprehend why and how something so awful could possibly happen to an innocent and beautiful bird. I loved birds. And seeing a blood spattered bird against a car number plate – seeing death – not understanding why – threw my world upside down as a child . I could only cry and cry and cry in that car park while my dad stood beside me to comfort me. I don’t remember if he even offered an explanation for what happened, but i only remember i was glad he was there and i just balled my eyes out into him. At that point, i somehow knew nothing could bring back that dead bird and i wasn’t asking my dad to do something about it. I was just reaching to my father for comfort and his hug. Him just being there to acknowledge and feel the pain with me was the only place that “made sense” to me. It was going to be alright.
Sometimes i wonder, if that is how we can also run to God with our disappointments. Not with a petition of wrong-doings and accusations, but just with that child-like need to have Him hug us and tell us, it’s going to be alright. We are just like a child without much understanding of God’s thoughts and ways, and sometimes, all we really need is not for God to explain it all to us, but to just be our Father.