Apr 26 2012

The Rescue

I’m a firm believer that God doesn’t cause bad things to happen to teach you a lesson.  From my study of the bible I have resolved that bad things happen because people make bad decisions, this is a fallen world we live in, but God is there to get us through.

I’m learning a lot about how to resolve the questions if God is so loving, why is life so hard, by reading through Laura Story’s devotional “What if your Blessings Come through Raindrops.”

She writes, “Many of us believe wrongly that we’re unworthy of God’s love.”  I think it’s because of mistakes we’ve made, or bad things that happen and we think God’s doing it to punish us. 

Laura writes, “there is nothing we could offer to earn the blessing of salvation.  Yet we were in such desperate need of redemption that God being rich in mercy, showed us His love by sending Jesus to our rescue.”

That’s the blessing.  The rescue.

“We’re not only saved by grace, but the bible says we’re sustained by grace.” –Bill Hybels

You can enter to win Laura Story’s devotional, and her CD “Blessings” by filling out the form on this page.  Just tell me about your “Blessing in Disguise”.

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4/26/2012 10:14:17 AM
Sherri White United States
Sherri White
Amanda - Please let me caution you as a sister in Christ to be careful with what you say because so many people listen to you and take what you say as truth. Where in the Bible do you find that God does not cause bad things to happen? There are many examples of God causing bad things to happen to people. For instance, when the Hebrews worshipped the golden calf at the foot of Mt. Sinai, God punished them by ordering the Levite men to kill 3,000 of their brothers with the sword (Exodus 32). After David sinned with Bathsheba, God caused David’s son to die. Speaking through the prophet Nathan, in 2 Samuel 12:11 - This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you.’  There are many other examples I can give you, but it is very obvious that God DOES cause bad things to happen to people. This is not just an Old Testament reality (God is the same yesterday, today and forever). You will find many references to discipline in the New Testament, including Hebrews 12:6 – the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son. Or, Hebrews 12:11 – No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Or, Rev. 3:19 – Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline - so be earnest and repent.  I am afraid that your confusion may be that you are equating bad things (things we don’t like) with evil things.  God is not, of course, evil and does not cause evil things to happen. He is, however, HOLY and does cause things to happen that we do not like and so we label them as “bad.” He does not cause bad things to happen to “teach us a lesson,” as you say, but He does cause things to happen to turn us back to Him and perfect what He began in us so we can be conformed into the image of His Son.  CS Lewis wrote a great book called The Problem Of Pain that addresses this issue.  I would encourage you to go deeper in your study of God’s word and seek the truth, not leaving anything out. We can’t accept some parts of the Word and not others. Moreover, because of your position of leadership and responsibility, I would encourage you to be especially careful in sharing your beliefs with others if they are not 100% Biblical. As far as people who are going through tough times – we should all take the example of Job, who FIRST examined himself to see if there was any sin in him. He found none, even God said Job was blameless, and at that point, Job simply accepted what God had given him and trusted God’s purpose. I say these things with love as a sister in Christ, and hope that you will grow in your faith.
4/26/2012 10:37:37 AM
Kristin United States
Kristin
I agree with Sherri.  Sometimes we are facing situations due to our own sin and we face the consequences like David who cheated and had someone murdered.  God didn't just let him get away with it.  But even Beth Moore wrote about when bad things happen to good people.  When someone loses a child unexpectedly, is this because they have sinned or made a decision? No, but it''s still bad and God allowed it.  This is where the world says how can a loving God allow things like that to happen?  But we have to trust Him and rely on Romans 8:28.  I just feel that everything that happens to us is not a direct result of something we failed to do or not do.  
4/26/2012 11:28:15 AM
lori United States
lori
Bad things happen for many reasons, both to punish and to strengthen. Think of Job who just was used as an example of faithfulness. I have lost a child and a grandchild. I have a grandchild who is suffering with a serious heart defect. He faces surgery on May 9th. I do not doubt that God is fully in charge of everything that takes place on this earth, because that is what His word says. Prov. 21:1, Isa. 40:21-24, Acts 17:26. I pray that we all have the conviction to stand on what we believe. But know this God is just and He does not change.
4/26/2012 12:47:08 PM
Chris United States
Chris
You are both wrong, read James 1:17. Then try reading all of James 1. Every GOOD thing is from God. He is not "teaching you a lesson" when things go wrong. Do you really think that a God that would die for you would want to cause you pain? When bad things happen to you, it’s not God, it's the devil trying to attack you.

Now I'll address what Sherri said and explain them: The only reason those 3000 had to die was because they had turned away from God and were "infecting" other people to do the same. Israel appeared as fools in the eyes of their enemies because they were divided (verse 25). Do you think God really wanted to do that? Of course not! He loved those people but they didn't want him, they would rather serve an idol. Also don't forget that this was under the old covenant where if there were 3 or more witnesses saying a person had broke the Law of Moses that person could be killed. God couldn't afford to have his people destroy themselves, something had to be done. That's why the Israelites had to wander in the wilderness for forty years, if that unbelieving generation had gone into the Promised Land, they would have been destroyed because they refused to trust God.

Now about David, read verse 14 and remember that this is still under the old covenant where breaking the law had consequences. Do you think God wanted to do that? But if David's son hadn't died, everyone else would think it would be OK to do what David did, be forgiven and have no consequence; but the wages of sin is death. Nowadays we have a clean slate because Jesus took it all for us. However, if you sinned and repent, you turn away from that because staying in sin will hurt you and you won't move forward.

Now about Hebrews, I like how the NIV translates it in verse 7: "Endure hardship as discipline". God isn't sending bad things our way, but he will use the trials we face in this world to help us grow. If we don't learn how will we grow? In this chapter Paul is encouraging the people to throw off sin and take the trials and consequences of our actions as discipline to grow. You can see this because in verse 14 it says without holiness and peace no one can see God. How can other people see God in you if you are acting like the heathen? Paul rejoices in trials as we all should because he knew that it would help him grow stronger in the LORD. I don't know if you have kids or not, but when have you tried to get them to make a mistake in order to discipline them? Probably never, but when they do make a mistake doesn't helping them deal with their actions help them grow? It's the same with us and God. Just like Amanda said, it's bad decisions that cause bad things.

Now the verse you mentioned in Revelation is talking about the church in Laodicea who was neither hot nor cold for God, they took pride in their earthly riches but they were poor in God’s eyes, he wanted them to learn from him and become rich in him so they could live their best, which they weren’t doing. They need to take responsibility and grow.

Now about Job, God never said he was blameless. Of course Job had sinned; it was sin that opened the door for the devil to get into his life. What it did say was that during all of the trial, Job never sinned by cursing God. Why would Job repent for saying all that incorrect stuff about God if he didn't sin?

Now Sherri and Kristin I don't know what you are learning in your church but I encourage YOU to study the word and be careful of telling people that a loving God would want to punish them if they screwed up, God loves us and isn't trying to hurt us. If someone loses a child it could have happened for a number of reasons, but it was NOT God’s will. Read Psalm 91:16, there are many other verses like that one as well; God wants us to have a long happy life. I pray that you and others can learn this and realize what a great God we serve!

Thanks for sharing the truth Amanda! Please keep it up!
4/26/2012 1:04:00 PM
Kristin United States
Kristin
I never said God wanted to punish someone.  What I said was, when you sin there are consequences and God will allow them.  For instance having unprotected sex out of marriage is a sin so if you get an STD, there is your consequence for sinning.  

I wanted to show compassion towards people explaining the point that just because bad comes into your life doesn't mean that you did something wrong. The example I made was if you lost a child, it is not the direct result of a sin you committed.  This article became confusing and made it sound like bad things happen because you make bad decisions, I'm sorry everything that has happened to me is not because of my lack of decision making.  You are totally confused.
4/26/2012 1:33:14 PM
Chris United States
Chris
Actually my comment was mostly for Sherri, not you. Of course not everything that happens is a direct result of a decision. But that doesn't mean it's God either. Like I said in the beginning, sometimes it's the devil that is the cause. I will admit I may have slightly misread your post because it appeared like you agreed with everything said before. I apologize that it seemed like that, I was just trying to address everything that had been posted up to then.
4/26/2012 1:39:26 PM
Derek United States
Derek
Isn't good we have an all-powerful, all-knowing God we can turn to in out times of joy and terrible heartache. Amanda, thank you for sharing your heartfelt thoughts and the words God is speaking to you. Also, thank you Sherri, Kristin, Lori, and Chris for opening up your thoughts as well. Life certainly can be a real struggle and we all realize we are hopeless without the salvation and continual love and care from our Lord.
As I think about this topic, I think back to the tempting of Jesus while he was here on earth. His Father certainly did not wish Jesus to give in to Satan but He did allow the temptations to occur. Jesus is our example and therfore we go through the very same trials and temptations that He went through. God expects that we are sin free but at the same time He realizes we cannot be EXCEPT for the grace of Himself. This is the love and justice of God that is so very hard to understand. He loves us more than we realize or can even imagine. Even if we FEEL we do not deserve it. But remember, that is a feeling, not the truth.
I am a Pediatric Cardiologist, so Lori I struggle with patients like your grandchild every day. Many, many of these precious patients do very well. Unfortunately, some precious patients do not survive into a longer life. I try hard to remember that the gifts God has given me (and the honor I have in treating patients and families) offers some patients a longer time on earth but we will all be called from this life at our time. God has numbered all our days. We struggle with the how and why and want to believe we know what is best but in reality we do not. Could God interceed and prevent death? Absolutely!(He has a history of raising people from the dead) Does he every time? No. Is there wrongful death? Yes. Does the timing of death suprise God? No. Does he hold people accountable for their sin that hurts others? Absolutely! Does he hold you and me on the same accountablilty level? Yes (Yikes).
Our Lord knows all. Every wonderful thing that comes into our lives and every sin we commit or the fallout we live by sins committed against us. Each one of us has a choice to sin or not to sin. Satan can put it before us. God can allow us to see it. Only we can act on it. I have been deeply hurt by others sins. I have deeply hurt others by mine. I am sorry. I am forgiven. Praise be to God for his grace and love.
4/26/2012 2:10:12 PM
Sherri White United States
Sherri White
Chris - I think you read too much into my comments. I was only pointing out that God does sometimes cause things to happen to us for our good. I didn't say everything bad in our lives is a result of sin or that God is waiting to punish us every time we mess up. If we are repentant, He is faithful to forgive. However, there are consequences for our actions and He does sometimes cause things to happen to us in order to turn us from unrepentant sin. I used the example of David's son, but that certainly doesn't mean that every loss of a child is a result of sin. It is just an example that God proactively caused that "bad" thing to happen to David. Yes, it was a consequence of David's actions, but it was implemented by God. And, I agree that the Hebrews had turned away and would infect others - again, they received punishment as a result of sin. The lukewarm church - again, a result of unrepentant sin. Your comments about the Hebrews verses - I didn't say God wants us or causes us to make mistakes. But even you used the word discipline. Discipline is a deliberate action, just as spanking a child is a deliberate action. It hurts, but it is for their own good to correct behavior. My comments weren't meant to judge anyone's situation, only to challenge the statement that God does not cause "bad" things to happen, because that is simply not true. I know God does not want to do these things, but I also know He is holy and just and He wants our hearts turned to Him, even if that means we must go through a painful experience to turn us back. Again, not saying that all bad situations are a result of sin, but sometimes they are and as children of God, we would be wise to examine ourselves. I hope this makes my comments more clear. I think we agree more than you think, and I regret that compassion and love did not come through my original post as I intended it to.  Blessings!
4/26/2012 4:45:43 PM
Chris United States
Chris
Sherri – I think you said God makes “bad” things to turn our hearts on him, while I still think if we are away from him he will USE the bad things that come, to bring us back to him, I respect your opinion and am grateful you took the time to reply. You know my opinion on the matter and I hope my first reply came across correctly. How things happen, what causes them and what role we play in them could lead into a whole other much larger discussion so I will just leave it at this: God loves us and wants the best for us, always.
4/27/2012 5:10:27 AM
Nathan United States
Nathan
I believe that sometimes bad things do happen for our good. Through every test that God has brought me through only strengthened my faith in Him. I love to run but after going to a doctor for chest pain I found out that I had an enlarged heart. The doctor said that i couldnt do any sports especially running. God healed me of that heart problem and now my enjoyment for running took on a whole new a greater meaning. The valleys in life make the mountain tops that much sweeter to be on.
4/27/2012 8:31:43 AM
Jenny United States
Jenny
My "blessings in disguise" have been many and I often have not understood until much later down the road. Me losing my job in 2007, was a blessing in disguise. It led me to where I am, doing a job that I love...no, not ministry...but medical billing/collections. Through that job though I have met some interesting people and I stay here because I think that some that work here or even some that are my patients, need me. God needs me to spread his message here at this place at this time. Not only has my "blessing in disguise" helped on the job front, it has helped me understand forgiveness and grace, which is a continued lesson.  My heart today has been uplifted by going back and thinking about the bad things that have happened. I believe those bad things are drawing me closer to a loving God, deepening my relationship. God is so amazing!
4/27/2012 11:17:58 AM
Bryan Nigeria
Bryan
I also agree with Sherri. Scripture Itself quotes God as affirming being responsible for certain "bad" things eg Isaiah 54:16, Isaiah 45:7, Isaiah 30:20, etc. In addition to what Sherri also said about where the confusion lies, I think its also in our definition of terms; what we call "good" and "bad". God knows the end from the beginning and "calls what's not as though it were" (Romans 4:17)so God's vocabulary, I've discovered, may differ a bit from ours especially when it comes to the usage of the terms "good" and "bad" much like a parent and their children. The kid finds it hard to understand why dad/mom say vegetables are "good" cos as far as they're concerned vegetables don't taste "sweet" and so therefore aren't "good". Chocolates on the other hand  are sweet and so for the child are "good". God sometimes sees through the pain and calls an otherwise painful experience "good" whereas we don't see what He sees cos we're not God. Eg Isaiah 53:4"..smitten of God, and afflicted." Isaiah 53:10 "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief..." talking about Jesus. Hear Jesus' cry at Golgotha: Matthew 27:46 "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Sounds to me like it really hurt but God called it "good". Think about it, an innocent man who hadn't done a single thing wrong. Ordinarily would you and I call that "good"? He does cos He's using His vocabulary not ours. Finally, we MUST appreciate the fact that we're very different from God and He acknowledges that (Isaiah 55:8-9). As God's kids we MUST understand that Truth doesn't mean it wouldn't hurt.  

4/27/2012 11:34:08 AM
Amanda G. United States
Amanda G.
"And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand." Mark 3:25 So much division among God's people. It's really a shame, everyone should just carefully examine what they say against God's Word. And on topics that are a little uncertain, show love and grace towards others.
4/27/2012 2:16:27 PM
Chris United States
Chris
Bryan - Isaiah 54:16 means God created the one who is attacking you, that doesn't mean they will harm you. Of course God created all, (John 1:3) he even created Lucifer who BECAME the devil (God did not create evil). Also give verse 15 a read, it's good. It shows that he didn’t send them against you.

In Isaiah 45:7 if you read the whole chapter and look into the ancient Hebrew text you can see that the translation in this context actually means he allowed these things to happen, which is still true today. God's judgment of his people came through King Cyrus. He allowed it and they needed it, but he didn't send it. Again, read Isaiah 54:15.

For Isaiah 30:20 I went to other translations and saw it said that if you call on him he will give you what you need to live during the hard times then when the people got rid of the bad and the good came. While some call it affliction bread -which it is, it came during affliction- he is not GIVING you affliction. You can go and study that if you want, but I found it means he will sustain us during hard times if we call on him like he was telling these people to do.

About the vocabulary of bad: Of course, but God is with us and we can discern the good and bad with his help, he also gave us his word. Let’s say you were at a coffee shop, and then you went back to your apartment and realized you left your keys at the coffee shop. If when you got back to the apartment you found out the building had exploded and it would have killed you had you been there, I would say that it was God being good even though you thought leaving your keys was bad. However I wouldn’t say God made you forget your keys, it could have been you. He could have used something else to slow you down from reaching the building before it exploded. Of course the explosion wasn’t God, but he could use that to give you a better place. Like I said in an earlier post, it leads to a bigger discussion. Long story short, Romans 8:28.
However, God does not cause bad, if he arranged for you to be late in order to save your life you might think it was bad even though it wasn’t. Besides, if you had been living in patience, would you really think it was bad? What I mean is actual bad things, trials, like someone losing their home. We can see in the bible that’s nothing to be particularly happy about. Though he didn’t cause it, he will turn it around for good and we can trust him. I don’t believe God causes trials, (“bad things”) but I do believe he will use them for good.

Now about Jesus going to the cross: In Isaiah 53:4 it says WE considered him smitten by God, the people said God was punishing him, which we know was not true, the people killed him and God had to turn his face away because of all the sin on Jesus. Many of the verses you give need to be taken in context. In verse 10 it says it pleased the LORD, this is another way of saying it was God's will, look it up in another translation if you have to. Why was it his will? So we could become sons of God. Even we call it Good Friday, though there was much pain for Jesus we can now live forever with him, wouldn't you say that is good? Now about our thoughts not being his thoughts, for the world they aren't. But we are not of the world, we have the mind of Christ in us, (1 Corinthians 1:18) we have the Holy Spirit to help us discern the thoughts of God. We also need to renew our minds to become more like him.

Amanda G. - I don't think we are being unloving or divided, but I do think there is confusion. Why are there so many denominations? It's because the churches couldn't agree on how to do things and became confused. Paul specifically said don't have divisions in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, but that is what happened. I am only trying to enlighten you all because we shouldn't be divided.

I ask that none of you misinterpret how I am saying this, I'm not trying to be mean. I respect and understand that you have opinions on the matter, I only want to help you all understand the truth. You can take it or leave it, but I don’t think we need to keep going back and forth on this. Just read James 1:13, some translations interpret “tempt” as “trial”. James 1:13 is what I believe.
4/27/2012 2:51:28 PM
Chris United States
Chris
To you that still aren't convinced: If God was to make bad things happen in order to help us grow, wouldn't he use it in heaven? Don't you think we will learn things in heaven? We won't have to deal with these things in heaven because he doesn't make them, he uses them. Jesus specifically said we will face trials in this life. Why? It is because we are currently living in the world (of trials). But with him there will always be a way out, (1 Corinthians 10:22) we can cast our cares on him (1 Peter 5:7).

(1 Corinthians 14:33)

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…

Though sometimes the ways he operates could be confusing to us, (some things might seem confusing in the bible but in actuality it was the best way) he will help us understand. Though does he purposely make things (e.g. trials) that are confusing? I don’t think so.
4/28/2012 8:40:02 PM
angela United States
angela
thank you so much for posting this! i heard this on the radio today & it was just what i needed to pass along as i have been having this very discussion w/ some friends lately.
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