Friday, March 14, 2008

Murphy’s Law of Providence

I don’t want to overstate my case. Last time we looked at a verse that is often misused to say that, no matter what’s going on in your life, it’ll all work out ok.

My objection was two-fold. One, much, if not most, of what’s wrong with American Christianity today is based on bad theology. Much bad theology is based on scriptures taken out of context, so that’s a habit the church desperately needs to break.

Second, it isn’t true that things will always work out, so let’s don’t tell people that the Bible says that it will.

All that said, though, things do seem to work out an awful lot. I remember a time when I couldn’t get into my parking lot at work, so I had to pay extra to go park somewhere else. Where I ran into an old friend.

Another example: One day at work I was sent off to do the most mind-numbing job there. Met a girl. Married her.

Bad things do often turn around. Indeed, in scripture we have many examples of this: the Egyptian army following the Israelites out of Egypt, Daniel in the lions den, Peter and John arrested then freed, Assyria surrounds Jerusalem then leaves. But we have plenty of counter examples too: Stephen arrested then killed, John the Baptist the same, Babylon surrounds Jerusalem then burns it to the ground.

Sometimes things go our way, and sometimes they don’t. God makes us no promises about how things will go other than to say, “In this world you will have trouble.”

We can’t assume that God will make things work out according to our will. But we can assume that God Almighty is in control, that nothing happens that He does not permit, and that He has our best (in the truest sense of the word) at heart.

As the saying goes, whatever can go wrong will. When it does, our response shouldn’t be to assume it’s all going to turn out the way we want. We also shouldn’t assume it won’t. We should assume, and lean on the promise, that God is in control no matter what happens to us in the short term.

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