Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Little Bit of Kingdom Come

People sometimes think that God *causes* bad things to happen in order to bring other good things out of it. Most of us, I think, have a problem with that as an "ends justify the means" kind of thing. But among Christians I think it gets currency from various directions.
  • Some people read Romans 8:28 in that way, as if it said "we know that God is the cause of everything and no matter how awful it seems it's actually good because of the good that comes out of it."
  • Our tendency to recite the Lord's Prayer as "Thy will be done, (hard stop) on Earth as it is in heaven" as opposed to "Thy will be done on Earth, as it is in heaven" plays into a kind of resignation in the face of tragedy rather than an appeal for God's *good* will to actually be realized on Earth.
  • Plus, there's that sense that if God is "omnipotent" then it would seem that everything that does happen is ultimately because God wants it that way.
  • The kicker is the story in John 9 where most translations literally say God caused a man to be born blind in order to heal him later. (I think Eugene Peterson gets it right in his The Message version.)
I don't buy any of that stuff, but it's out there and feeds into the notion that God works evil to obtain good and we just have to deal with it.
At any rate, what I do believe is that in every situation - regardless of how it came about - God is present and is an active force to bring good forward.
And here is a very beautiful and touching example of what that can look like.