My sisters made me lose my temper and punch them because they had been mean to me. I got in trouble when our room was dirty because it was my brother’s turn to clean it and he didn’t do it. In grade school, if I forgot to study for a test, it was the teacher’s fault because she should have reminded me. When I played basketball, the reason I missed the pass was because the kid that threw it to me should have known I was about to cut for the basket. In football, it was the tackle that missed his block and caused the losing yardage, it certainly wasn’t that I ever missed a block. In baseball, the sun was in my eyes so I couldn’t see that last strike coming across the plate. In track, well, those who know me realize that I have never been, nor am presently a runner. Of course, the reason for it was my sisters fed me cookies when I was a kid to keep me quiet!
Looking back, I guess I wasn’t too different from most every other kid I knew. Everyone seemed to blame everyone else for all his or her troubles. No one seemed to take the blame for anything.
Sort of sounds like the first few chapters in Genesis, doesn’t it? Adam told God, “The woman gave me the fruit to eat so it was her fault I ate it. Blame her.” Eve said, “It wasn’t my fault. That old devil made me do it. It’s his fault I ate it so blame him.” (And you thought Flip Wilson came up with that one.) And the blame game continues today.
There seems to be a lot of tension today with our faith and the concepts of blaming and trusting. When things go our way, many of us praise the Lord and proclaim our undying trust in Him. But, as soon as something goes against our wishes we point the finger at God because God let us down.
For example, Granny is 94 years old and her poor old body is about worn out. She gets sick, goes into the hospital where she has little chance of recovery. We pray, “If it’s your will God, please let Granny get better.” Granny doesn’t have the strength to overcome her sickness and she dies. The result, we blame God for the death of Granny because “God let her die.”
Someone abuses their body most of their life with alcohol. As they get older they begin to have liver failure. They go to the doctor who tells them there is not much that can be done because the liver has been overworked all these years and is failing. They go into the hospital when there is little hope of recovery.
The next step is turning to God. They pray, “God, please save me from these physical ailments I’m having. My liver is shot and I need you to work a miracle in my life so I can continue to live.” They die and the family blames God because their loved one has died. (Of course, they never consider the possibility that God may have worked many miracles in his life to keep him alive through all the years of abuse.)
Don’t misunderstand. I do believe in the power of God and in the power of prayer. But many times we use God only as an insurance policy, as a last resort. We haven’t followed Him all of our lives but as soon as there is a problem we are quick to expect Him to jump at our beck and call. And if he doesn’t jump soon enough or in the exact way we want, He is a non-loving, non-responsive God.
We need to know that God is not the reason we have problems, heartaches, and misery. God did not think up cancer to whip His people into shape. God is not happy when babies die and our loved ones die in car wrecks. God is not pleased when someone comes down with a deadly illness or a crippling disease. How do I know that? The Bible says, “Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle.” (James 1:17; The Message)
So, if everything desirable and everything beneficial comes from heaven, then everything evil, undesirable, and sinful comes from the other direction. If everything good comes from God, then everything evil comes from Satan, the evil one. “Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8; NASV)
When bad things happen to you, it’s ok to be upset. It’s ok to be mad. It’s even ok to place the blame. But, be sure to place the blame on the correct offender, Satan. Be mad at Satan. Show Satan you aren’t going to let him push you around any more. You are not going to let him control your life.
How do you do that? By giving your life to Christ, by letting Him wash your sins away with His blood (Rev. 1:5b, Acts 22:16), and by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in your life.
Some have chosen to follow God. Some have chosen to blame God. Some have seen the “Two roads diverged in a wood” and have actually taken the one less traveled by. They have learned to blame Satan instead of God and that has made all the difference in their lives. It will make a difference in your life too!
(Lou Butterfield is pulpit minister of the Remmel church and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)