Who’s in Charge Here?

November 14, 2012 at 10:53 am | Posted in Social Media Shares and Mass Emails, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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It can be so tempting… Someone you really care about has experienced a tragedy like the unexpected death of a loved one. It’s not uncommon in situations like this for people to react with extreme grief. “How could God do this?” they will demand to know. In these days of social media, such expressions can find their outlet in very public places. I am thankful at times like these for opportunities to minister in the name of Christ. Jesus Himself knows what it is like to experience pain and sorrow (John 11:32-38; Luke 13:34). Great care must be taken, however, to avoid the temptation to lie about God in an attempt to make someone feel better, or even to protect God’s reputation.

Let’s use the example of a parent who is grieving over the death of his or her young child. Here are some of the common lies that well-meaning Christians use to try to keep hurting people from questioning God’s goodness or even existence:

“This was not God’s plan.”
“God just needed another angel.”
“God is not in control of the earth.”
“Satan owns this world until Jesus comes back.”
“God never causes pain.”

Perhaps the most dangerous thing about these statements is that they are the types of lies that we sometimes euphemistically call “half-truths.” Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), specializes in this type of deceit. Mixing a lie in with the truth makes it all the more palatable.

Here is the truth: God can and sometimes does allow pain and tragedy. The Bible is replete with examples of God allowing the wicked to reap what they have sown, and even sending calamities and death to specific individuals and large groups of people. We don’t like to think of God having the power to spare a young child from death, and then refusing to exercise that power, but we do no service to God when we claim to know His secret counsel, and make a pronouncement that something was definitely not His plan, when in fact we simply do not know.

We also know that the angels are created beings. They exist in reality, but they are not former people who have died and gone to Heaven. The idea – popularized by everything from greeting cards to cartoons – that when people die they don a white gown, receive a halo, and float away on a white cloud playing a harp, is completely unsupported by Scripture. Is it really helpful anyway to suggest that God is lonely or lacking in Heavenly servants so that He sometimes selfishly takes away someone’s child to make another angel? The One True and Living God is not lonely. He is perfect, immutable, and lacks nothing.

Finally, we must beware of the lie propagated by the so-called “Word of Faith” or “Prosperity Gospel” movements. Many people tune in regularly to a religious television network called TBN and they have been deceived by the lie that man’s fall in the Garden of Eden gave Satan complete control over this world and locked God out pending Christ’s return. Pentecostals and Charismatics are especially susceptible to this heresy, which says that the way to activate God’s intervention into the devil’s domain here on Earth is to send up our “faith” in the form of “words,” which give God permission to make us healthy, wealthy, safe, or influential. Of course, the wealthy proponents of this false teaching will also tell you that your words of faith need to be accompanied by “love offerings” or “seeds of faith” that begin with a “$.” Again, anyone who buys into this religious Ponzi scheme has not honestly read the New Testament.

Men and women are fallen sinful creatures. Apart from the saving power of Jesus we enslave ourselves to the little “g” god of this world, Satan. But Satan has not overcome God. He has not locked God out of the earth. He has not tricked God nor unseated Him from His sovereign throne. For reasons which we can not fully understand, God allows Satan to operate with some authority in this world (subject to God’s ultimate control). If you know someone who is upset with God for taking someone they love, here are your choices:

1. Leave them alone and pray for them.
2. Pray for them, be there for them, and keep your mouth shut, your ears open, and your shoulder and tissues handy.
3. In a kind, loving, humble way, tell them the truth: God is Lord over all and He is completely in control (I Chronicles 29:11). Satan’s temporary, limited reign on this earth was broken and he was defeated by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection (Ephesians 4:8-27). Jesus Himself is seated at God’s right hand, and has been given all authority and power over everyone, every place, and every thing (Matthew 28:18; Hebrews 1:1-3).

And whatever you do, don’t lie about God. He is working all things together for His glory and the good of those whose trust is in Christ Jesus, whether it seems like “good” at the time to us or not (Romans 8:28).

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  1. […] you try to comfort someone whose child has died you are not supposed to say stuff like this. You are supposed to shut your […]

  2. […] He spoke words of eternal absolute truth. When we try to comfort someone who is hurting, our words are not always helpful. Jesus’s words have special power. They are always true. If you believe them, they have the power […]

  3. […] Bible frequently warns of the danger of running off at the mouth. As a Christian, I need to let the Holy Spirit control my tongue, and I need to analyze what […]

  4. […] of the way even adults, through the so-called “health and wealth gospel” or the “Word of Faith” movement, have been seduced into this way of thinking: “I’ll obey, God, but I need […]


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