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Bad things to good people? Good things to bad people? III
Third and last
If you've seen my first two hubs on this subject, you probably know already where I'll end up. If not, I suggest you check out posts Part I and Part II. Here's the bottom line. If you accept the historic Christian world and life view you'll be far more astounded at the good that happens to bad people, than offended by the bad that occurs to supposedly good people. But intellectual acceptance of a particular system of thought isn't sufficient either; necessary but not sufficient.
When all is said and done intellectual answers don't really cause you to change your attitude or behavior permanently. How many people know that smoking will kill them, but do it anyway? How many men know that cheating on their wives will bring untold suffering to themselves and to their family, but do it anyway?
Jesus' last words
He had rounded up his disciples for one last talk. Their exuberance over seeing their Lord very much alive after his cruel crucifixion was now tempered by the announcement that He would soon leave them. What would become of the small band of followers? If they had crucified their leader they rightly feared they'd be next. They hung on every word craving comfort and reassurance. They got three messages. 1) "All power has been given to me." 2) "Now go and make disciples in every nation." 3) "I'll be with you." You'll find this in Matthew 28:16-20.
He said nothing about protecting them from evil or suffering. There's no recorded complaint starting with "But Lord...!" Instead, the disciples follow their Lord's instruction to "stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." Luke 24:49 That power came in due time in the form of tongues of flame on each persons head, a fitting symbol of the Holy Spirit with whom every follower of Jesus now endowed.
So Jesus' answer to our question is, "I don't promise that you will escape all bad things; I do guarantee my powerful presence no matter what you face. Count on it!"
I list four action points in this section. How many have you taken?
Does that help?
If your goal in life is the pursuit of pain free comfort you'll reject Jesus' answer and return to the world's false hopes. But surely you long for more than that. You've seen the shipwrecks. You'd rather not be one yourself. How will you respond to the next disappointment or pain? (See, we both know that the "good" person asking the abstract question is you; the bad thing that is happening is some suffering you're dealing with.) So what will you do?
1.I suggest that you accept provisionally the Christian world and life view described in these three hubs. I don't intend to ram anything down your throat, neither does God. His patience and gentleness will always surprise you. All I ask is that you try on the suit, but do it sincerely. Review these three hubs with the intent of checking the Scriptures quoted and believing the points made.
2.But that's not all. Get alone before God. Ask him to turn the lights on inside you. Along with the rest of humankind, you were born with the lights out. There's a darkness in our minds and hearts that prevents us from seeing God's obvious truth. That's not to put you down as intellectually deficient or cold hearted. No, in many ways you have excelled. It's just with regard to God's truth that you have a blind spot. Only He can open your eyes to see. And He will!
3.Next? Jesus once opened the eyes of a blind man. The man's first words were, "I see people, but they look like trees, walking." Mark 8:24 He had sight, but lacked understanding. So it is with many whose spiritual eyes are opened. They need help to make sense out of what they now see. That's why your next step is to find a small group of people who are also following Jesus. Tell them what's happened and ask them to help you get used to your new vision of reality. A church is a good place to start, but be careful. Not all churches communicate God's truth. Sad, but true.
4.Now that your eyes have been opened, go back to that Christian world and life view that you had accepted provisionally. Might it now be something you could adopt permanently?
The Christian faith is both an intellectual system that is reasonable to believe and support and also a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Both go hand in hand. Without the one the other dies off.