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A Big Pill

Question I received via email: I am angry at God. I cannot pray. When I see the devastation of the World Trade Center I cannot pray. Most of all I feel hurt. Do you have an answer for me?

Answer: Yes, I have an answer for you. However, the answer is like a big pill…hard to swallow.

Many people believe God controls everything. They believe God controls when people die. They believe God sits in a control room somewhere and pushes buttons and pulls levers to help or hurt people. You have heard some people talk about "the will of God" and these persons imply that everything that happens on earth is somehow controlled by God. The idea that God controls everything is totally wrong.

Just think about the common sense of this matter. Do you have a mind? Let's assume you do have a mind. Can you make up your mind or can you make decisions? Let's assume you can make decisions. When you come to a cross street you can go right, left, straight ahead, or stop where you are. In this instance, you have four options. To believe God controls everything and everyone is to believe (A) you do not have a mind of your own, (B) you are not capable of making decisions, and (C) that you have no options. Your common sense should tell you that you can make decisions and that you do have options.

Now we want to get down to the nitty gritty. If you have a mind and you can make decisions, which direction will you go? If you believe God controls everything then you end up believing you do not really have a mind of your own and you believe you cannot really make decisions. You cannot have it both ways. Either you believe you are totally controlled by God or you can make decisions on your own.

The real truth about the way things work in the universe, in the world, and in our lives is that there are two forces at work in our reality, not just one force. The two forces at work are good and evil, light and darkness, God and Satan. Here is where the pill gets bigger. If you and I accept there is a force of evil, a force of darkness, a force we call Satan, then we have a problem. The problem we have is what do we do? If we accept that Satan exists, how do we react? If we accept Satan exists, what do we think Satan is and what do we think Satan does and will do? The way we handle this problem of Satan's existence determines how we look at life and at ourselves. If we deny that Satan exists or we minimize the existence of Satan and consider Satan a cartoon character we can blame God for the actions of Satan.

It is easier to blame God for bad things happening than it is to put the blame where it belongs…on Satan's shoulders. Every time we feel pain, hurt, or when we suffer in any form, it is Satan at work. It was the handiwork of Satan that took down the World Trade Center and consequently the lives of thousands of people. By infecting the minds and hearts of the perpetrators with hatred, Satan won. When we blame God for the bad things of life or we hold God accountable for not stopping bad things we shirk our responsibility as humans.

We hold murderers accountable for their actions. We must hold Satan accountable for being the evil and dark influence in the world that Satan is. This pill is hard to swallow because when we admit there is darkness and evil put upon us by Satan we need a hope. As a Christian, I find my hope in God, in Christ, and in the Holy Spirit.

In the middle of the mess of the pain and suffering of life, we have a mind and we can make choices about where we put our heart and mind. We can choose to align our heart and mind with God who is Light and love or we can choose to align our heart and mind with Satan who is darkness and evil.

The pill gets larger when we realize that it is our natural state to align our heart and mind with evil and darkness. It is natural for us to seek revenge. It is natural for us to seethe in anger. It is natural for us to be full of hatred. It is natural for us to be continually influenced by Satan and his power of darkness. When we get angry with or at God because we think God does what Satan does, we are being influenced by Satan.

Accepting that Christ died for each of us is not natural. Accepting Christ is not natural and few people surrender their life to Him.

What each of us must do is to understand that there is a war between God and Satan. This war goes one in our nerves, bones, heart, and mind every minute. When we choose to respond with hatred and anger we give Satan a chance to work in us and work in our world. When we choose to respond with love, we give God a chance to work in our world.

God does not control everything. You do not control everything. What you can do every minute is to choose to love rather than hate. You can choose to take every hurt to God who wants you to take your hurts to Him.

I pray that these words help you find peace with God.



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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018