When bad things happen many people question their church. Where has my church support been? Why should I even go to church?
There may be an even deeper level of questioning as well. Where was God when this was happening? Why would God allow such a thing? Is God really all good? Is God really all powerful? Why did he not answer my prayers, my cries for help?
Before we can question the church or God too closely however, we must question ourselves, our beliefs about what we think should be done for us, what we think we deserve, and where we get those expectations.
While young, children are generally taught one of three things about God. They are taught that God is:
- a kindly all loving father who would never allow evil to occur. In this case, the Lord appears to be an magical, imaginary, Santa Clause type figure just waiting to do good things for us, bringing us his overflowing sack of health, happiness, and material goods.
- a strong dictator who, after imposing ridiculously stingent and unrealistic regulations on his subjects, is now lurking behind every wrong move, every evil thought, every display of humanly cowardice just waiting to catch human beings in our fallible acts so He can crush us with His iron fist, punish us with an eternity of hell.
- nothing. Too often children are taught nothing at all about God. Sadly, some parents do not have any faith at all. Others feel that God is uninterested in our lives, and still more parents feel that the teachings of the Bible are outdated or think they can excuse their way out of accountability for certain dictates. Some parents who do have faith assume their children will “just know” what to believe or should decide for themselves and open the door for others to fill gaps in their children’s moral and spiritual development.
Before you can question God or your church’s presence in tough times, we must question ourselves. Examine the above three points and decide if any apply to you.
Perhaps you are a blend of more than one.
There is a natural tendency to question God and the church when evil hits our lives. Before we can do that however, we must examine our own expectations of the Lord.
How have your experiences changed the way you think about God? How have they dictated what God should be to you?
This thread will continue as I discuss the three dangers of the above teachings and attempt, with God’s help, to answer the questions above.
Psalm 119: 27