Does God’s Plan for Your Life Include Tragedy?
Many people believe that God causes (or allows) tragic events to occur in our lives for a divine purpose. We believe this because most of us have gone through tragedy and we were in some way made stronger. The conclusion we come to is that tragedy refines our character so it must be God’s doing.
Many people are not strengthened through tragedy. They’re destroyed by it. This fact might cause us to consider the question more carefully.
So what is it, exactly, that creates a change of character during a tragic event?
In any situation, whether joyous or tragic, we make a choice whether we’re going to yield ourselves to the Spirit of God or to close ourselves off to His influence. If we open our heart, God can shape and mold it as He sees fit. This is how character is developed. Tragedy is an opportunity to build character only when we choose to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit. Many times during a tragic event, we harden our heart and it becomes embittered which prevents the work He wants to do.
It’s the work of the Spirit in our heart that refines our character; not the nature of the event itself. Great victory can be an opportunity to develop Godly character but it can also be an opportunity to become proud, arrogant or self-centered. The nature of an event itself doesn’t determine how our character is changed. Our response to it does. The same opportunities, both positive and negative, exist in every kind of circumstance—whether joyous or tragic. It isn’t necessary for God to cause tragedy in order to refine our character. It can be developed through any kind of event whenever we’re willing to cooperate with the work He wants to do.
Why Does God Allow…?
Life definitely always includes tragedy, however I agree with the James Lane Allen quote, “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.”
Character is developed through opportunities to be responsible for our choices in our thinking, speaking, and acting. >>> Tragedy (adversity) comes and our response exposes our success or failure to do so.
I think that’s what your blog entry pretty much boils down to as well, correct?
Bit disappointed my friend. You never answered your own question. You sidelined over to answer “How can God build character?” Obviously Papa can use all things for good but that doesn’t mean he sent the Holocaust, tsunamis, apartheid in the middle east, murders, persecutions, etc.
God’s plan is for us to bring his will, heaven to earth. Is there tragedy in heaven? What did Jesus say about tragedy (stealing, killing, destroying)? I would assert that we continue to learn, grow, develop character, throughout eternity.all without the works of the evil one.
I am so glad you addressed ‘where’ challenges come from, that they are NOT from God but God uses them to develop us into His character. When people ask, “Why did God do this?” it makes me just cringe. They lose sight that God is only LOVE! The enemy was given control of the world and by his nature he is the one who causes bad things to happen to us. I know my Redeemer LOVES me beyond what I can understand. LUV Bonnie
Boy oh boy, Tough subject.. I used to think as a legalist, that they brought it on themselves. or that God did. pretty warped theology.. Jesus came to set the captives free, to bind up the brokenhearted. and HEAL their wounds.. By one man sin entered in.. and death.. with it. This is the job of the church now through Jesus, Power..to set the captives free and Proclaim the year of our Lord.. Feeling pretty inadequate…
i agree its a tough subject, thank you PM for speaking to it and allowing us to weigh in on it as well. it seems every everyone has their own opinion based upon their background. we appreciate your insight and look forward to more thought provoking discussions allow us to grow in the Lord.
I think the only thing that everyone here agrees to is that this is a tough subject 🙂
Joking aside, scripture did say that under the new covenant, by faith in Jesus, we are to enjoy the same blessings given to Abraham and without the curses… perhaps with some exceptions
First exception off the top of my head is that Jesus said the Father will throw us in jail (or give us to the torturer in another translation) if we fail to forgive. I recall a talk by Pastor Kris Vallotton. He met a woman tormented by demons and she could not be freed despite repeated deliverances because she had unforgiveness in her heart. So if you consider the demonic oppression a personal tragedy perhaps this is one of those exceptions.
Cannot think of any other exceptions at the moment.
Then the scripture says God does discipline us because He loves us. So what constitutes discipline as opposed to disaster? If a God loving Christian gets laid off, and the family eventually loses their cars, house, medical insurance etc, is that an attack by the devil ? Is it a disciplinary lesson out of love to teach the family to trust in God the Provider ?
Then of course there’s always Job. I can only hope that God would no longer do (OK ok God did not do that to Job, He only allowed the devil to do that) that under the new covenant.
Very tough subject indeed.
There is a difference between a good father who disciplines his sons and a child abuser. I may spank my child to teach her a lesson, but I won’t beat her or intentionally give her diseases or torture right? I find it frustrating that we can see human fathers with such common sense clarity on this, but then get confused about God our heavenly Father and where He may or may not draw the line with discipline.
The fact is… God is good. We must never lose sight of this when dealing with the question of hardships in our world. We do have hellish troubles and Jesus had something to say about them… “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world”. So then, if I *despair* and say, “God must have been disciplining me” or if I get angry with God and say, “how could you God I thought you loved me? Did the cross work or didn’t it?!”, then is my despair compatible with “taking heart”?
Clearly, God does not delight in evil or torturous troubles in his children’s lives and clearly Christ overcame the world yet simultaneously He told us to not be surprised when we still encounter troubles. So, what does this all add up to? Paul wrote some years later in his letter to the Ephesians, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” And when Jesus taught His disciples to pray He taught them saying, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” It seems to me that God’s will is not always done in earth as it is in heaven. We are still engaged in spiritual war with forces of evil (aka. not God).
How can a war continue if Christ overcame the world? Because though the victory is won and sealed by the blood of God who was not overcome by evil but overcame evil with good even when the evil of all humanity and all demonic oppressors were against Him, He has not asserted absolute dominion of heaven onto the earth yet. He is the King of Heaven and even earth, but God has made US ambassadors of His reconciliation (2 Cor. 5.20) regarding what He has done to bring heaven back to the earth. Where is the Kingdom of Heaven? Is it only in heaven? Is it ever on the earth? Jesus says it is within you! So, He has entrusted us with the role of heavenly ambassadors and in many ways warriors also of light and faith, love and joy amidst the darkness… until He comes again. Peace friends. God is good. 🙂
Jesus said I do what I see the Father do. Which person did he refuse to heal because he wanted them to learn a lesson First? Regardless of your conclusion, if you want to change you life pray this ‘Jesus what I’m going through for you is Nothing compared to what you went through for me’!