If we stand and proudly attribute every good thing to the will of God, why do we not attribute the bad also? Is there an inconsistency?
A few days ago I saw a concerned question by an honest skeptic. He asked that if Christians attribute every good thing to the will of God, isn’t it inconsistent to deny that bad things also happen because of God? Our skeptic is at least half right when he notes that many Christians are somewhat guilty of cherry picking God’s actions. Many conclude that every good thing that happens to them must be because of God and everything bad must be because of the devil, but let’s not stop there.
Firstly good and bad aren’t always synonymous with pleasure and pain. We can’t always see things in a black and white perspective, as something “good” can come from the Evil one, as a means to distract, tempt, or idolize anything above God, whilst something “bad” could just as easily come from God as a means to strengthen or build character and humility. In this sense, it is wrong for the Christian to assume that his life will be nothing but a “harvest of goods,” because it won’t. There will be hard times, necessary evils that we must endure in order to come out as an experienced disciple. How can we understand the struggling if we haven’t struggled ourselves?
Secondly, sometimes the trials we endure are because of us. If go our own way or cease to dwell in the grace of God (partaking in the “circle dance” of reciprocity we may say) we will face calamity. Thus God may allow calamity to fall upon us as a means of realizing the consequences of our independence in a world that glorifies destructive pleasure. I must make note that trials are nowhere called “good” in and of themselves, just as a parent allowing a child to touch a hot iron to satisfy curiosity and rebellion is good in and of itself. Rather, discipline is a necessary evil in order to achieve wisdom and humility. It’s better to realize the consequences of disobeying a parent by the heat of an iron than to discover them through a far harsher consequence. Likewise, God will never allow difficulties that are too hard for our own good (1 Corinthians 10:13). There is always a control element.
Finally, Scripture tells us that everything He allows in our lives, both the good and the bad, are purposed to bring out His perfect will for our lives, that is us living and moving in the presence of His Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:18 and James 1:2).
In conclusion, the critics are half right when they point to the inconsistency in Christian gratitude. We ARE supposed to recognize God in everything we go through, both the good and bad. But the critics are wrong when they assume that God causes calamity for nothing but its own sake.
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive (Genesis 50:20).