“If God loves me, why can’t I get my locker open?”
This is the tongue-in-cheek title of a popular teen devotional book written years ago. Perhaps it was popular because we have all had this thought in some form or another. If God loves me, why did my father treat me as he did? If God loves me, why am I still unemployed? If God loves me, why did my wife leave me? If God loves me, why did I experience such trauma, and why is it haunting me still?
Adversity dogs us. Setbacks, betrayals, losses, and disappointments seem to beset us with unnerving regularity. At this moment, a number of my friends are struggling through significant adversity, and the results include fear, feelings of abandonment, hopelessness, despair. Many of them have come to the point of questioning the goodness of God. How can we trust a “loving God” when adversity seems to attack so regularly and with such disastrous consequences?
While the answers I will attempt to provide here will be individually incomplete, I hope over the next couple of posts to expose the nature and value of adversity, and the role our God wants to have in seeing through adversity.
Adversity is the lot of humans. We, as a race, chose adversity when we chose to rebel against our God and His role as supreme influence in our lives. By choosing to go our own way as a people, we chose to live out from under the divine influence, plan, and protection of our God. Consequences followed that choice, consequences we all experience even though we individually would not now choose them. Death on the spiritual and eventually physical levels. Sickness, difficulty, trials, harmful relationships, and selfishness. These are now the constants, the rule in our living.
So where is our God in light of this? He is still in control, right? Why does He allow this to happen to me?
Yes, He is still in control. To make us immune to these consequences would make us somehow not human, not mortal. These consequences are not random, capricious, artificial events that are interjected into our living. They are the stuff of life after the fall from grace. They are like the air we breathe, which is a mix of particles some of which are necessary and some of which are harmful in high doses.
Our God intends to take His followers beyond this life and its consequences. That is the promise of eternal life in the eternal state. Until then, our God intends to deliver us in the face of adversity. Sometimes that deliverance will be from adversity. More often, that deliverance will be through adversity. He intends to walk through our adversities with us, to redeem them for our betterment, to free us from some of the consequences of our rebellion through them, and to deliver us on the other side as stronger people in faith, grace, hope, and joy.
In the next post we will look at how this deliverance through adversity is very good for us.