God Gets the Blame
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!2 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:7 – 12 NIV
Here’s one I’ve heard many times and deemed it gospel: “God never gives us more than we can handle.” I’ve heard this at funerals, to the terminally ill, to a worried parent, to a struggling addict. I beg to differ. God is our rescuer, especially when times are more than we can handle. He loves us. The Psalms are filled with how God rescues. Paul in his letters talks about how God had rescued him from death several times. Peter was released from prison by an angel sent by God. Jesus died for us so we are no longer imprisoned. He rescued us. We couldn’t handle our sin. God certainly did not make us sin!
How could we trust a God that heaps trials and temptations upon us? God never, ever does this. He is a merciful God. His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22)
The other axiom that I hate, really hate, is: “This happened for a reason.” Said to parents whose child has died, said to someone who’s spouse just died, said to someone who’s become disabled. Really? I saw Jesus heal and not disable a child of God. Who really does this?
These trite axioms are said by those who have not truly suffered. I know. In my ignorance, I’ve thrown those axioms out to others to assuage my guilt, ignorance and awkwardness. Ran home to safety and security. God forgive me.
When my husband, parents, beloved friends, pets died, here comes: “They’re with God now.” That’s true. Very true. However, I’m here lonely, despairing and hopeless. What a slap in the face! Dismissive! Uncaring! If even Jesus grieved his friend, Lazarus, don’t we know we will someday experience the same? How many beautiful psalms were written by David that were a tribute to his grieving? If Jesus was tempted, grieved, hungry, lonely, and he was, so will we be. Remember that we take up our cross and follow him. He is with us. Will not forsake us.
When I think of some of the things I’ve said to others, I cringe. I’m hyperaware of how my tongue of fire and lack of compassion hurts and destroys. God didn’t do it. People do it. A corrupt world with narcissistic tendencies enflames pain. When I was at my neediest, I needed a gentle presence. A witness to my pain. Hug of comfort. An ear to vent my agony. Not preaching. Not trite quotes. Presence.
Thank you that you’re always with me. Thank you that your son took the blame for me, though Your Son was blameless.
Please make me aware of those I need to make amends to, those that need presence, those that need hope, forgiveness for those that have hurt me and a gentle, listening ear. We all stumble with listening and bearing witness. You will transform me.
Redeem the pain of those who are suffering.