Part 4 -“Everything Has a Reason” Makes God Sound More Like a Soteriological Mad Scientist than “Emmanuel”

The previous post left off with my belief that God grieves with us. This one aims to unpack that and delve deeper.

I know it’s a “Captain Obvious” statement to make but let’s begin somewhere: Our human nature tries to avoid pain, grief and the aftermath of death at almost all costs. We are willing to live in denial, sleep excessively, medicate, and look for any opportunity to escape physically and emotionally. For those of us who are fortunate, we have family, friends, perhaps even a church, that will come alongside us and help in some way. Though many times they are incapable of feeling the same pain, their love brings them near. I find that to be “godly” as in “god-like”.

One of my favorite things that I know about God is His “nearness”. The name we sing about every Christmas time, “Emmanuel”, is a proclamation of a God who came near. I am seriously moved by this. What does Emmanuel have to do with “everything has a reason”? I’m getting there.

I don’t believe that God flings planes out of the sky to teach the grieving on the ground that the skies belong to Him. I don’t believe that He shakes the earth to remind the watching of His sovereignty. I do not believe that when we hear the words, “miscarriage”, “malignant”, “positive” that they are meant to be God saying, “I’ve been trying to teach you this lesson but you are so stubborn, and so I have had to resort to the following actions.”

When I hear people say, “A loved one died so that the gospel could be preached at the funeral”, I usually nod and say nothing but inside I question this type of God’s understanding of evangelism. I thought one of the basic premises of Christianity is that Jesus died, so the world could know the Father. Has that plan failed?

When I hear people say, “God gave me this terrible disease so I could learn patience, dependance, grow in faith”, I think this is only a half-true. God didn’t give you the disease. Sadly this is a part of our flawed, sin-stained, death-driven world. Always, remember, it’s the world that sucks, not God.

The beauty in the pain that we experience is not out the deciphering of God’s painful message to us. The beauty in the pain is the very presence of Emmanuel, a God that is with us regardless of circumstance or condition. The Gospel message preached at the funeral is not God’s mad-soteriological scientist plan coming to fruition; it’s a proclamation of Hope where there should not be any. And that hope screams at the top of its lungs, “Because of Jesus, death has not won! Because of the Resurrection, we can be with Him, now and forever – He is the God that is with us!”


  1. The Slothful One says:

    I think I follow what you’re saying and agree with much of it, but where is God’s Providence then? Perhaps you can tackle this in a future post. Also, I understand your issue with a statement such as “God gave me this terrible disease…”, but would you also disagree with “God allowed me to suffer from this terrible disease…”?

    I hope all is well, brother!

  2. Thanks, yeah, I think we are close here.
    I do believe in God allowing such things to enter into our lives but not because God needs it to happen to teach us a lesson but rather because we in this life, we live in a death, sin-stained world.
    And so to cut to the chase, the ultimate deliverance is not for the disease to be cured or to be healed from it but to come to Jesus, the one who liberates us from the curse of this world and shows us the “life of all ages” (translation of “eternal life”).

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