Acts of God
As Andrew was sharing a devotional reading (from Beyond Orion’s Gates, by Mark Finley tonight at worship time, he read an account of a man who’d been electrocuted by high tension power lines, which subsequently was filed with insurance as an Act of God.
It also referred to Job and his suffering, which everyone also referred to, in effect, as an act of God.
This prompted a discussion in our family about what is God’s will and what is an act of God.
I have a few experiences that came to my mind when I really had to face this. That is, face whether is was God or not. Let me explain
When I was in my early twenties, I was serving as a missionary nurse in the Amazon. One day when in the port town, I received a devastating call. My oldest brother had died—committed suicide. I cannot tell you how terrible that day was.
Just after hanging up, the pastor’s wife where I stayed, trying to give me comfort, blurted out, “Sometimes it’s just hard to understand God’s will.”
I was young, and not very experienced in my faith, but although I remained silent, my mind screamed at her, “This is not God’s will! It is not God’s will that my brother killed himself! God’s will is for all to live!” I didn’t know much, but of that, I was certain.
God had said so,
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.2 Peter 3:9
I knew in my heart enough about God to know that He cares for each of us. I can’t say I know His will all of the time, but I did know that He loved my brother. It was not his will that he should die without hope. And I could see clearly how God had been calling, because the day before he died, I had an overwhelming sense that I needed to pray without ceasing for someone. I did, but people still have the power of choice. God doesn’t overrule that. But He does call.
Fast forward eleven years. Another bother. My baby brother, all grown up. Personal and mental struggles. The same terrible choice to end his life. Just as devastating, maybe even more so, seeing first hand the struggle he went through. Wishing we could do more, knowing if we truly understood, we would have. Regrets.
Another phone call, a family member offering condolences to my numb brain. And that question, “Why did God allow this to happen to someone so young? Aren’t you angry at God?”
My mind jolted awake, and I shook off the cobwebs just for a second.
“No, I’m not angry at God. He kept calling. Right now I am very, very angry at Satan. He’s the one who caused all of this pain. It’s him. I hate him and all of the pain he caused my brother, my family, and you.”
And I did.
I still do.
When I look at this world, with children suffering unspeakable torment, with good people maligned and evil people walking free, I hate it. I can’t even think of it sometimes, because it’s so terrible.
I don’t hate God for it, but I sure wish He’d hurry up and bring justice. And sometimes I wonder how He can stand it. He loves each child being trafficked and abused. He even loves the abuser, although I can’t muster up that kind of love. He wishes they would stop and be sorry and use their power for good. He even loved Judas.
Which brings me back around to my first issue of Acts of God. I believe God could control everything and everyone in the universe. So that there is no evil. No suffering. I wish it could be like that.
But if He did, if He actually used His power to force all to do good, then no one would actually be free. He values freedom most of all. Even if we choose against Him.
I cannot explain all the evil in the world. I’ve seen some, but not as much as some. More than I want to see. I believe God will one day soon put an end to it, but only after everyone has been given sufficient opportunity to choose his or her side. He always lets us choose.
But His will?
It always has been and always will be that all come to know Him, and be saved. Saved from what? Just look around and you’ll see plenty of trash we need to be saved from. But, then look inside and you’ll see some there too.
Thinking badly of others.
There’s more, but we both know that already.
We all know intuitively that these things are wrong. Society may say they’re ok, and even praise those who engage in them, but at the end of the day, we all really want:
Truthful people to deal with
A faithful spouse
Honest people around us
To be honest ourselves
And God wants those things for us too, plus more. Take a look at His laws—each one is there to ensure our happiness and peace in some way.
So, if we are going to refer to something as an Act of God, we need to take a look at the things He has told us, His laws, and how He lets us choose. Then we will start to see a little bit of an act of God.
But, then look at what He has actually created—how He made our world perfect, before sin entered. That was an Act of God. And because of sin (our choice)
He chose the ultimate Act of God—to give His life for you and I, so that we can have what? Choice. He didn’t die so that we had to live eternally, but so that we could have that choice. We can still turn our backs on it at any time.
When I hear someone mention an Act of God, or God’s will, but that action goes against everything God represents, I sort of consider that a counterfeit act of God. One that’s blamed on him but that he simply allowed.
God’s will, is this: that you and I live.
The acts of God that we can see are found in what He has created and in those around us who are a little bit like Him. We see Him.
I want that to show in me. And I want to look for that more in others and in the things He has made.
What are the acts of God that you can see?