When God Says No

22 Jun

To many in the Christian faith, and in America in particular, the existence of pain and evil in the world is an abstract concept, much on the same level as astronomy or chemical engineering. They know it exists, have seen it evidenced in things like the Holocaust, poverty, and cancer, but it’s not anything that carries any sort of weight on their lives.

Until something happens to them or someone they love.

Then it’s real. Then many abandon their faith.

One of the main reasons I have heard or read for a person leaving behind Christianity goes something like this: “Would a good God allow this particular suffering to happen to this particular loved one? How could He go back on his promise to always answer our prayers?”

Something I’ve been taught is that God always answers prayers. But sometimes He says no. Sometimes He gives you what you pray for, but not in the way you wanted or expected. A loved one may suffer from some debilitating disease and their comfort is achieved through death. Or worse yet, a young, healthy person dies tragically. What does God hope to accomplish by rewarding our service with pain?

It’s all about the Story. It’s all about how God will accomplish His will. We forget sometimes that we are not the end-all of Creation. We don’t remember that we are to “do everything for the glory of God.” That means eating or drinking, or whatever we do. That means that we sometimes must suffer and die for the glory of God.

The past few weeks in church, we’ve been singing a song that includes the lyric, “Nothing formed against me shall stand…. The God of angel armies is always by my side.” I hate it. It’s nothing but warm fuzzy lies. God has called us to be His adopted sons and daughters. Do you remember what he did to His OWN SON?? Why do we expect such special treatment?

The Bible says that God will be faithful to His promises – He promised that we would share in the suffering of the Son, that we would sometimes have to flee from city to city, that our own mothers and brothers and wives and sons would hate us for what we believe. He promised to forgive our sins and admit us into His kingdom, but not in this life. The most apparent fruits of our labors will be resentment by friends and self-imposed exile from the heart of society.

Hoo boy. Had to breath there for a minute. I believe in God, I don’t always like what He expects of me. I hate, hate the thought that someday, I’ll be an orphan, might be a widower, be childless, have no one when I’m old. If I’m old. I hate how hard everything is, and how much pain people experience.

I can’t understand why God allows it.

But He does.

I rationalize it as best I can, but I can’t pretend to understand. I guess it’s like any story – I like to be taken for a ride. Stina always tries to guess whodunit in the mystery books and shows, I just like to find out at the storyteller’s own pace. (Indeed, if I can guess the culprit before the end, I usually end up disliking the overall story.) God’s gonna tell His Story as He will.

I’m just another minor character along the way. One that He experienced death for. Such a confusing thing.

-Forrest Johnson
Forrest Roy Johnson is a Minnesotan exiled to Iowa. His fiction has been featured in The Whole Mitten, Miracle Ezine, and Fiction365, and HelloHorror. Other fiction is upcoming on Kzine. Visit uncomfortableopinions.blogspot.com to read thoughts on culture, religion, and other things thathe might have on his mind. Visit wild-and-sweet.blogspot.com to see what he’s working on in terms of living a sustainable lifestyle.

photo credit: nathangibbs via photopin cc

3 Responses to “When God Says No”

  1. Deena Siddle June 22, 2013 at 10:01 #

    You expressed what I was trying to explain to someone just yesterday as I start my writing career and tell the story of God’s glory and grace in my life. It will not always be easy, but it what he has called me to do. Thank you for your wisdom.

  2. Deena Siddle June 22, 2013 at 10:06 #

    Reblogged this on One Woman Delivered and commented:
    More people need to understand this thank you.

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