Recently, I had one of those days. Nothing went right, and, I, like so many others, questioned God. What’s going on here God? What have I done to offend you? I don’t know what in my personal history or my theological upbringing has me always running first to, “What did I do to make God angry with me?”. But it’s there. Sometimes I read of that God in the Bible. Or maybe that’s the way I read into God in the Bible. It certainly is a very negative view of God. I say that because throughout Scripture, God is presented overwhelmingly more as a longsuffering, patient, and loving Father toward His creation. In fact, Jesus even said, “[God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Mt. 5:45). God is a blessing God, not a cursing devil.
So that must be it. It must be that nebulous Evil One. He is, after all, “a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pt 5:8). I am reminded of the old Flip Wilson show, where Flip played a crazy old lady who constantly said, “The devil made me do it! The devil made me do it!” As a believer in God, a son of God, that really isn’t an option. Though the devil and his minions are seeking to wreak havoc in the world, I can’t always assume that when I am suffering it is because the devil is attacking me. It becomes a too simple blame game, and it really is a trite response. So, I appreciate St. John’s affirmation that as a child of God, “God holds me securely, and the evil one cannot touch me” (cf. 1 Jn 5:8).
Well, now we are back to square one. If it’s not God’s judgment or the devil’s attack, then why is this happening to me? Maybe, it is God. Yet maybe it’s not God’s judgment, but God’s love for us that we suffer. After I went through the two stages above, analyzing my recent misfortune, I came finally to a more positive conclusion of what was going on. You see, in the end, the suffering I went through was seen for what it was to be: a prelude for a blessing. God allowed me to go through that suffering, that crisis, because He had something better in mind for me. I came to understand, albeit in hindsight, that, indeed, “All things work together for good, for them that love God and are called according to His purposes” (Rm 8:28). And in the final analysis we will see that God put all things to right through Christ. Unfortunately, I, too often, see myopically in the moment “as through a glass darkly” (1 Co 13:12).
Why me God? Why not? Suffering is not unique to me or to anyone else. But we can be confident of this, “That He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Ph 1:6).
(c) Paul Dordal, 2014