I realize, that may feel backwards from the norm from some of you… But as someone that grew up in the Church, I can genuinely say that this is my default.
“Hey! I found a quarter! Thank God!”
“Hey! A circuitous string of random events has stacked together in such a way that they’ve made my life inexorably more difficult and will probably cost me far more time and money than I had previously allotted to it! Geepers! Them’s the breaks!”
Leah and I have been struggling with answering this question for months now. If you’re a regular reader of the blog, it’s no secret that I’m in the process of trying to get a step up when it comes to my day job. Almost a year go, a complete stranger told Leah that she felt God tell her that I shouldn’t worry. The promotion I was hoping for was already taken care of. God was on the case.
I remember Leah and I lying in bed hours after we had turned out the light having one of our marathon discussions that night. I told her that if I got the job, I would be so grateful. But if I didn’t, I would be disappointed, maybe even a little upset, but not at God.
To this day, I would still say that is true. I’m more than happy to give God all the credit for the good things, but blaming Him for the bad? That makes me uncomfortable, and I’m not sure why. Certainly, God is big enough to take it if I were to pin my misfortunes on him, but I suppose at my core, I’m terrified of what it would mean for my faith if the great big warm fuzzy ball of eternal grace and love that is God is also orchestrating all of the worst things that have ever happened in my life.
Honestly, at this point the lines have become so blurred it’s difficult to tell where wishful thinking ends and God begins. How do I know that I’m not twisting God and what I believe to be God’s will for my life into my own goals and desires? It’s easy to call the fact that I’ve been looking for a job for over a year and have gotten more than a dozen rejection slips for jobs I’m qualified for bad luck… Or is God actively keeping me at a place that is getting worse to be at on a regular basis? And if so, why?
Is there anyone else out there that feels this tension?
If He’s responsible for the good things, even if he just allows the good things, is he allowing the bad as well? And if so, what’s the proper response? Are we to grit our teeth and bark out a pious, “Yes sir, may I have another?” Should we adopt the idea that we’re scum and we should just be grateful for any damn thing that gets thrown our way that doesn’t completely destroy us? Or should our conversations with the Almighty range from, “Thank You!” to “Eff You!”?
These are legitimate questions. Unless God drops a truth bomb on me by the time I finish this sentence, there will be no insightful paragraph at the end tying it all together and providing you with a quirky but reasonably thought out “what if?”.
So I guess I’m asking you guys. Friends, readers, and strangers at large… What is the proper attitude behind reconciling a God that allows good things to happen, allows bad things to happen, and somehow, our prayers might/might not sometimes/always make a difference. I would genuinely love to hear your thoughts. Seriously. Please discuss. Okay. Thank You.