Wednesday, May 17, 2017

when God doesn't protect you

St Clement of Alexandria talks to us today in A Year with the Church Fathers.

He tells us that people have free will. Big surprise, right? But we often pretend like they don't. In Clement's time, judges were sentencing Christians to death for being Christians. Clement reminds his readers that just because a judge sentences death doesn't mean it's God's intention for those people to die. Free will means that judges can make bad decisions.

Free will also means that drivers can make bad choices. They can play on their phones while they're driving, or drive while intoxicated. And you might be driving on the same road on a rainy night. That doesn't mean God isn't looking out for you. It means that people have free will.

We often see God's hand of protection when we have a near miss. When we ALMOST get into an accident, but something protects us. In those moments, we gratefully turn to God and thank Him for keeping us safe. But what do we do when we AREN'T protected? When the drunk (or distracted) driver DOES run into our car? What then?

Some people then blame God. "Why didn't You protect me??" is a natural question. The answer is that God allows bad things to happen, allows suffering to occur - but not for no reason. God can and will work everything for your good - even a "senseless" traffic accident. Even worse things than that (because free will can be a terrible thing sometimes). God will work all of it for your good. Just ask Him to, and watch. I promise you, He will do it.

We have His word on it.

God, thank You for amazing us with how You (and only You) can work good from our worst case scenarios.