I often hear people say that a tragedy or devastation in their life must be God's will because He is sovereign.
No other lie of the enemy harms the body of Christ the way this deception does.
This lie causes us to think that everything bad that happens to us must be God's will.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
There is a reason Jesus taught us to pray that the Father's will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10). That reason is that not everything that happens on Earth is God's will.
I understand it may be a shock to even consider that God's will isn't always done. That perspective does not fit into the nice, tidy package of deception that says everything that happens on Earth is God's will.
We have changed our theology to adapt to the woes of the world by saying those things are God's will and are beyond our understanding because we must trust Him.
That attitude and belief is not found anywhere in scripture. To find and maintain peace in our heart, we have to stand firm on the truths of God's word. God promised to bring his word to our mind when we need it (John 14:26). This means that as we spend time in scripture getting to know God and meditating on hi s truths, we can trust that God will bring those truths to mind when we need them.
If we are not standing firm on the truths in God's word, circumstances will whip us back and forth and leave us whirling like a tornado. Satan loves to twist the truth and deceive us so we no longer believe the truth of God's word.
God's word says God is love. Not that He is loving - which He is - but that He IS love. That means every act of love we see in this world is God, even if they're done by people who don't believe in Him.
I believe the origin of this lie comes from common teaching from the book of Job.
We have all been taught that God gave satan permission to afflict Job. That's not true.
(Note: I choose to not capitalize the enemy's name unless it's at the beginning of a sentence or quoted in scripture. The enemy is not worthy of the honor of capitalization. Jesus is; the deceiver of men is not.)
What God actually said to satan is:
And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand.”
Job 1:12a ESV
Newer translations have added that God gave satan permission, but that does not agree with the pure Hebrew.
When God responded to satan, He merely acknowledged that satan was the "king" of the world and could therefore do what he wanted to.
At this point, you may be wondering why satan exists and how he came to be here on Earth. Satan was a high-ranking angel in Heaven who wanted to be worshipped. As an angel of worship, he loved in drawing attention away from God to himself. (He continues encouraging us to the same thing when we are feeling low.) His sin caused him and his followers to be cast out of Heaven. You can thank Adam and Eve for providing him some power here on Earth. When they disobeyed God and ate from the tree of Good and Evil, they turned their hearts away from God and believed the lies of the wiley serpent, satan. Their choice gave satan a foothold to spread his deception. In Ephesians 2:2, satan is referred to as the "prince of the air." When you consider the deception that is being multiplied by radio waves and internet waves, that makes a lot of sense.
1 John 5:19 ESV says: We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.T
Those of us who know Jesus and live for Him are not under the power of the evil one. The challenge is that we live in a world that mostly is.
God gave us free will because He did not want to spend eternity with puppets on a string. He created us. He gave each of us amazing gifts and a beautifully unique personality. He gave us free will because He longs to fellowship with us and abide within us.
Pause and let that sink in.
This reality creates the challenge that we may experience pain caused by people who are not personally acquainted with Jesus.
We get angry and lash out and demand justice. We tend to want to find someone to blame. Ephesians 6:12 clearly tells us who is to blame and also affirms the fact that our enemy has power in this world:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 ESV
1 Peter 5:8 goes on to say the devil is like a roaring lion, roaming over the Earth to find someone to devour.
Satan doesn't have to ask God for permission to harm the world because the enemy is the "prince of the air" and "rules" this present age. As lovers of Jesus, we are not affected. Those who don't yet know Jesus may be deeply influenced by the enemy. That doesn't mean it's fine to blame and hate those who do evil. We need to recognize the root of their actions and love them to wholeness.
God is not to blame for your troubles. Satan is.
Jesus dethroned the enemy and brought Heaven to Earth, but too many continue to follow the enemy instead of following Jesus. That's why tragedy is so common.
If we want to see change, we need to start being love to those around us.
So ... how should we respond to the tragedies that afflict us?
Job was on the right track in one respect. He praised and honored God regardless of what satan caused to happen to him or what his "friends" accused him of.
Job stayed holy in the midst of his tragedies.
Our response to tragedy should be the same.
When we truly know we are infinitely loved by God, our circumstances cease to matter.
We've been taught it is normal to rant and rage against things that don't make sense to us. Jesus said we are infinitely-loved children of God. He said He gives us perfect peace of heart and mind, so we should not be troubled or afraid (John 14:27).
We have been taught that being discouraged and in distress is normal and we just have to live with it.
Nothing in God's word says being discouraged, angry and bitter is fine and is just the way life is.
You may now be saying it is impossible to live in perfect peace no matter what happens to us.
It is possible. I promise. Living that way takes practice. As we practice walking closely with Jesus and not letting circumstances or the words and actions of others whip us around, we come to find perfect peace and joy have become a way of life for us.
It's not just possible to live with joy and peace, it's what Jesus continuously offers us.
When we don't feel the peace and joy of Jesus, it usually means we've become self-centered and have stopped believing the truth of God's word. It also means we are focusing on ourselves instead of Jesus.
That's a dangerous way to be, but God knows we are human. He doesn't judge us when we let ungodly emotions rule us. He simply encourages us to look to him and say, "Father God, I know these emotions aren't from You and aren't your will. Thank you that your word promises that you make all things new and renew all things. Thank you for renewing me right now."
It's just that simple. When we choose to follow Jesus instead of following what the world says is "normal' and to be expected, we begin to see the world through different eyes. We begin to see those who hurt us with love instead of hatred and condemnation.
We begin to walk as Jesus walked.
You can do it. God is giving you the power. Rest in Him today and let go of everything you're holding onto and trying to control.
God longs to provide the healing you so desperately desire. Holding onto the pain from your past puts barriers up. When we invite Jesus in to heal us and submit to his perfect love, healing will burst through your pain. I promise.
Please pray this prayer with me:
Father God, Thank you that you are renewing me even as I speak. Please help me stop seeing the world through a lens of pain. Please renew my vision, mind and heart to see the world through the eyes of Jesus and through his overflowing love. Thank you for loving me too much to let me stay focused on myself. I'm in awe of your love for me. Help me face everyday knowing you are renewing and refreshing me in every way possible. It's in Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
Do you find it hard to believe God loves you? Do you know the Bible says God loves you but can't believe that truly applies to you? Please consider joining me in the RESTORED: Transformational Coaching Program. Learn more, click below or here: RESTORED