Who Gets The Blame?
Job 1:22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with
In this message you will find a copy of a letter I sent to a reader
who had questions about God's role in misfortune, tragedy, and illness.
It is a topic that is often addressed on these web pages. It is a topic
for which we have various answers in our theology. As we grow older and
grow in wisdom, we see the ways of God in a clearer light. So it is that
we come to more clearly understand God's role in pain, suffering, and
Before we get to the letter and the responses, we must remember
hardship sometimes happens in the hand of God for reasons we do not
understand at the time or for reasons we may never understand until we
die. The Israelites were freed from slavery and crossed the Red Sea into
freedom. However, the former slaves were ill-equipped to take on the
responsibilities of freedom. When Moses physically left God's chosen
people to go to the top of Mt. Sinai, these people immediately fell into
sin and debauchery. As a group, these former slaves had little
self-control and little self-discipline. They did not have the hardness
and toughness of mind to take control of themselves, let alone the
hardness and toughness of mind to take control of their Promised Land.
To get the children of God ready for nationhood and the responsibilities
nationhood entails, God made them wander in the desert for forty years.
God made them wander in the desert for forty years to give them a
mindset that would permit them be a nation of His people. In your life,
there may be times of wandering in the desert. During these times of
testing, to be all that God designed you to be, remember your time of
testing can be a time of building up your strength, your endurance, your
personal power, and your ability to follow the leading of God in all
Thank you for writing to me. Here are my answers. I have put your
questions in the form of issues. My response follows the word
Issue: God and control. What does God control? Does God control
everything that happens in our life?
Response: Remember we are in a war in which all of us will
die. Remember in this soup of good and evil in which we live, Satan is
attacking us and attacking the work of God in us and through us. We are
at the center of this tug of war between God and Satan. It is under our
control how we respond. We are the ones who control what we say, think,
and do when Satan attacks us. In this respect, God does not control us
as if we were unthinking robots. God gave us a will and He expects us to
point our will in His direction when darkness falls upon us. It is the
most glorious of responses on our part to give our life over to God when
we are attacked by evil. For Satan's greatest victory is our turning
away from God when the bad times come or the going gets tough.
Issue: Doesn't God control anything He wishes to control?
Response: It is true God has the power to control anything He
wishes to control. However, God does not control or He chooses not to
control all things because of some kind of greater purpose and/or
greater glorification due Him in our illness, hardship, and despair. In
addition, the onus or responsibility of our life and faith is not to be
put upon God (which the control statement implies). The responsibility
for our life and faith is to be shouldered by us, not God. God will help
us carry these responsibilities on our shoulders but it is up to us to
carry the responsibilities. To say God can control anything He wishes to
control is saying He actually does pull levers and twist dials in Heaven
to arrange everything in our life for us. We desperately want to believe
God is pulling levers and twisting dials. We want to desperately believe
God controls everything in our life. We want to desperately believe God
controls our life because if we can give God the responsibility for
controlling our life, then we do not have to shoulder the responsibility
ourselves. Did God want to see Christ die on the Cross? No. Did God stop
Christ's suffering and death? No. We know our loving God did not want to
see His only Son suffer and die on the Cross. Why did God not stop
Christ's suffering and death when God wanted to stop this most
horrendous of acts? God did not stop this most horrendous of acts by us
for a greater good. The greater good to be gained is that fallen men and
women could be redeemed. Of all the times when God could have
intervened, Christ's suffering and death should have been the time. I
would have stopped Christ's suffering and death if I had been God. If I
had been God, there would have been no suffering and no death on the
Cross. Consequently, if I had been God there would have been no
redemption, no new life, no new birth, and no salvation of the soul.
Issue: Since prayer to God can result in cures of illness,
showing His control over that illness, then it must follow that God can
prevent the illness to begin with.
Response: There used to be a book out that was popular among
entrepreneurs called "Lazy Man's Way To Riches". I believe the
author's name was Joe Carbo. For some people, prayer is thought of as
"Lazy Man's Way To Cures, Fixes, Or Whatever Else You Want And
Need." The facts are that prayer does not always bring a cure.
Prayer has never kept anyone alive forever in the body that we know of.
Prayer has never been a cure-all for old age and the infirmity that old
age brings with it. If we think prayer brings with it cures and fixes
then the longer we are alive the greater our power of prayer can get to
offset our getting older and dying. However, prayer is not about getting
a fix for what ails us. I am not saying God does not cure illnesses as a
result of prayer because He does cure illnesses as a result of prayer.
However, to say God can stop the illness is to deny the power of satanic
evil that brings the illness in the first place. It is Satan who is the
enemy, not God. It is Satan who brings the curses of cancer, heart
attack, stroke, and aging leading to death. We must remember that as
much as we want to blame God for the darkness of life by not preventing
the darkness, God has provided us a victory over the darkness. God has
provided us an eternal victory over every illness, misfortune, and pain
we can ever experience. Our victory over death and over all the
sicknesses and ills of life comes when we die and see Christ face to
Now for some people, eternal fun and happiness with no suffering in
Heaven is not enough. For some people, they want the cure, the fix, the
end of the problem in the here and now. The painful truth is that even
if you get one cure, one fix, one healing now, eventually you will die
anyway. Sort of a doomed existence, isn't it? Yes, this life is a doomed
existence. However, God provided us an eternal escape after we end this
existence. Praise God for His Son who brought us everlasting life.
Issue: Doesn't God, pardon the phrase, stand idly by and let
illness happen? Why should I not be angry with him for letting the
Response: God does not stand idly by and let illness happen.
God stands with open arms of love, forgiveness, and eternal life if you
are willing to surrender your life to Him. In the concept of God
standing idly by, person's forget what God has done in offering Himself
as His Son as an atonement for us. If God was truly standing idly by, He
would let us live in the torment and suffering we live in forever in our
body. Instead, God is the great lake of living water from which each of
us can freely drink every day. In addition, God is more glorified by a
person who receives no healing and keeps the faith than by a person who
receives healing because they expected God to heal them. God's work is
more glorified by maintaining our faith in hardship than He is by our
saying "Thank you" when He gives us what we think we want and
need. The road of the Christian faith is a tough road. It separates the
adults from the children. The children in the faith want God to deliver
the goods when the child prays for it (demands it) or the child walks
away pouting. The adults in the Christian faith have seen the glory of
God hanging upon the Cross, and to the adults, the forgiveness of their
act of crucifying Christ overcomes and overwhelms all those childish
emotions dealing with getting that healing or receiving that cure. The
adults in the Christian faith don't care that much about getting a cure
in this life because they have seen the glory of heaven in Christ's eyes
and these adults know there is an eternal cure just ahead.
Issue: In a work environment as a supervisor, if we take credit
for the good that happens under our responsibilities we also must take
credit for the bad that happens in that work environment. Isn't God
willing to take credit for both the good and the bad that happens to us
in this life?
Response: In your workplace, if your emphasis is upon taking
the credit, good or bad, your emphasis is upon yourself instead of your
subordinates. In any kind of supervisory role, the most effective
supervisor is one who effectively delegates the responsibility downward
in the organization without any regard for getting credit. Management
studies have shown, the best and most effective supervisors are those
persons who get others to be as responsible as is the supervisor, rather
than getting the employees to be dependent upon the supervisory chain of
command. In coming to earth in the form of Christ, God has been trying
to get us to be responsible and live according to His will. Obviously,
Satan has another agenda. Satan's agenda for our life is the total
disregard for Christ and God's laws and will.
Issue: God, glory, and responsibility. How can I give God all
the glory when he refuses to take any of the responsibility? "
Response: You have things twisted around here. God is given
glory only when YOU take responsibility. When you try to give the
responsibility over to God you can then blame God for all kinds of
things gone wrong, done wrong, thought wrong, invented wrong, or things
not done by God that you want done. However, God is not the one
responsible. You are the one responsible in this life. We are in a
battle in which all of us are going to die. If we blame God for the
pain, suffering, and adversity of our life or the lack of healing we
want in our life then we will never glorify God. God gave laws for you
to follow for your benefit and your good. God gave truth for your
benefit and your good. God gave His Son for your benefit and your good.
It is your responsibility to observe, use, implement, believe, trust,
obey, and remain faithful in spite of every hardship…even the hardship
of sickness, disease, and death. As far as God is concerned, He could
care less about the glory given by your mouth. God wants glory from you
by the kind of person you are and by the kind of acts you do for Him in
spite of illness, death, and disease.
I know you want an easier truth. We all want an easier way than the
way of pain we are on, but the tougher way of Christ leads to peace in
our heart. The tougher way of Christ leads to moments of joy. The
tougher way of Christ leads to our living with His love and tenderness
in our heart. His way is the way our spirit can soar.
Humbly Sent In Christ's Love And Grace,
This story article appeared in January 2003 on Shepherd's Care
Ministries web site at http://www.findthepower.com