Is It Really God’s Fault?

Camping_billboardJust under two years ago, the Western world was reeling at Harold Camping’s prediction of the end of the world–reeling with laughter, that is. Once again the professing Bible believer had calculated the date of Christ’s return, a date which obviously came and went without a single Camping follower meeting Jesus in the air or a single coal of fire igniting an all consuming fire.

To make matters worse, that latest was a re-calibration of an earlier May 21 failed prediction which was a re-calibration of the one he made in 1988. When the third prophetic pronouncement yielded nothing but scorn, Camping admitted he had been wrong. Some even said he apologized since a number of his followers had reportedly sold their possessions to help fund the ad campaign to get the word out.

Others like myself didn’t see an apology in what he said, but perhaps his “I was wrong” actually meant “I’m sorry I led so many astray with my sinful, prideful, false prophecies.”

The 90-year-old broadcaster told his listeners that the Rapture did not occur October 21 because it was ultimately God’s will. “He could have stopped everything if He had wanted to,” he said. (“Camping Apologizes”)

What goaded me then and what has stuck with me for the past two years is this implication that God was at fault for not stopping him. His “confession,” in my opinion, was akin to Adam’s: “The woman YOU gave me handed me the fruit and I ate” (OK, I admit, my paraphrase and my emphasis).

This thinking, however, actually mirrors some of the reasoning of those who reject God. If He was all powerful, they say, He could stop wars and gang violence and cure cancer and pretty much all forms of suffering, sickness, pain, and death.

Except, God told Adam not to eat of that tree because if he did, if he so much as touched it, he would die.

So Adam sinned, but it’s God’s fault.

On the flip side are Christians who take the “let go and let God approach.” I don’t want to misrepresent this position because I know godly Christians who genuinely believe that they must only wait on God, and He will stir them to action.

My problem with that centers on the fact that every believer who has a nine-to-five job seems stirred to action when the alarm goes off at six each morning. Why would it be wrong for someone not under a time requirement to be stirred by the same godly motivation–responsibility?

We should be obedient to love our neighbors. No one makes us, though. We won’t get fired if we don’t welcome someone new or share with the person in need or pray for the one in the hospital. So we wait for God to prompt us, to give us the nudge by His Spirit.

However, I submit, it is sinful for us to wait for God to move us to do what He’s already told us to take care of.

It’s as sinful for Harold Camping to say, God didn’t stop me as it is for other Christians to say, God didn’t start me.

The truth is, God did stop Mr. Camping. Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 tell us that no one knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return. Yet Mr. Camping felt compelled to do his special calculations to figure out the day, at least, if not the hour. Why would he say God didn’t stop him when he clearly ran right through God’s stop sign?

And those who are waiting on God’s special nudge to do what He’s told us to do–whether it’s to love our neighbor or honor our parents or work with our hands or season our speech with grace or forgive our enemies or a host of things–these folks, it seems to me, are sitting at a green light with their engines running and a full tank of gas, waiting for God’s special invitation above and beyond that green light He gave in Scripture.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel, He says in Mark 16:15. Preach with our lives, with our speech, with our writing, with our good deeds even, Peter says. So why are we waiting for a special invitation from the Holy Spirit, to do what God told us to do in His Word?

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Published in: on September 9, 2013 at 6:52 pm  Comments (12)  
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12 Comments

  1. God says His ways are “equal” (impeccably just) and I think He is smiling over this post.

    Ready, set, go!

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    • Thanks, Peggy. I really do want to be careful because the Christians I know who seem to wait on God when He has spoken through His Word are genuine and sincere about their faith in Him and trust in His work. They don’t want to do anything by self-effort. I can learn a lot from that perspective. I don’t think we should take over and try to live the Christian life apart from God any more than we should take over and try to achieve salvation from our self-efforts. But there’s a fine line here between depending on God and obeying what He’s told us to do. In many instances, I’d say it’s both/and.

      The way I look at it, if He’s given us the command, we can trust that He’s also going to supply the strength and the know-how to accomplish what He’s sending us to do. I don’t have to wait.

      Becky

      Becky

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  2. Becky, wonderful words of wisdom, holy living. God is never passive–always active–but only directs through His word. (Matt. 4:4) We should never take God’s silence on circumstances as inactivity/passivity. Thanks for leading us back to His word regardless of how we feel/sense/”nudge”, etc.

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    • Thanks for your comment, Kim. I do feel strongly that we need to take God at His Word. I have nothing against a nudge from His Spirit, but I don’t think that ever contradicts what He’s said in Scripture. Nor do I think we need to wait around for a nudge when He’s already told us what to do. But I should probably clarify in another post. 😉

      Becky

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  3. well for a single man like me that is very much hoping to meet a good woman to share my life with which i certainly do blame God for my singleness today, especially when i have to see so many Very Blessed Men And Women that have met one another and have a family just like i would had wanted as well. it hurts me very much to see so many families together having a really good time going to different places and having so much fun too, and i would not certainly do that alone which makes very much sense to me. why is God punishing us innocent people that would want the same thing which i am sure many of you will certainly agree with me too?

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    • Telling the Truth, the fact that you’re blaming God says a lot about your relationship with Him. You aren’t apparently trusting Him to take care of you even in singleness. God says in His word that those who are single can give themselves to His work in ways that a married man can’t. But if you’re angry at God, I’m guessing you’re not asking Him to help you make use of your singleness.

      Whatever way a Christian might suffer, we have choices–whether to trust God in and through the suffering or to fight Him or accuse Him of wrong doing.

      The Truth is God hasn’t wronged You. He gives good gifts, and if He’s given you singleness, it’s your perception of it that’s off, not the gift itself.

      Becky

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      • well the way that i feel is that if this was God’s intention for me to be single and have no one which i do speak for many others as well, we shouldn’t had been born in the first place since we’re having so much trouble finding a good woman to spend the rest of our life with. in one of the other articles that i have read it said, God said it is not good for a man to be alone, and this is very true since he created women which certainly makes sense to me. why did God give so many other men and women a love life together with their families? It is very wonderful for many of us not to be alone all the time and to have that special loved one to be with. and what makes it worse is that when the holidays come around, it really hurts many of us knowing that we will be all by ourselves since many of us have no children too.

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        • You’re not speaking for me, and I’m single. I’m so happy God gave me life and then gave me eternal life with Christ. There is so much we as singles can offer people.

          But this is between you and God.

          You’re acting as if you think God owes you a wife. For one thing, a husband has a lot of responsibilities, including spiritual ones. Are you in a place to lead your family if you’re angry at God for not doing what you want when you want it?

          You don’t have to be by yourself during the holidays. On Thanksgiving go volunteer at a homeless shelter to help serve a meal to the needy. At Christmas go visit children in a critical care unit of the hospital and take them the gifts you would have given to your children.

          Look at your life as an opportunity to serve, not take. That’s what a husband and father should do anyway, so start doing what you say you want. Develop relationships with people who need a friend. You can either fight God on this and be miserable, or you can enjoy the life He’s given you by serving Him and others.

          That’s the same choice married people face, too. They often question and doubt and wonder if they’ve done the right thing marrying this person. Many divorce and try again. The ones that stay together often report they had bleak moments when they felt alone in their marriage and on and on.

          Marriage is no assurance of the kind of happiness you seem to want. God alone is.

          Becky

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          • Well many of us shouldn’t be Alone since God created Men And Women. And who in the world would want to come back home after a day of work, and have no one to talk too?

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          • You’re still missing the main issue–submitting to God. Did Peter want to be in prison? Did Stephen want to be stoned? Did Paul want to be beaten? Did Ruth want to be widowed? Did Joseph want to be on the run from Saul? Did Daniel want to be thrown to the lions? I could go on and on.

            The point wasn’t what those people wanted; it was that they submitted their wills to God and allowed Him to make of them something far greater than they could have achieved apart from their willingness to take up the suffering in front of them.

            Yes, sometimes being single might seem like suffering, but if you turn your desire for a wife over to God and let Him have His way, you can be sure He will provide for you what you actually need.

            Becky

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  4. Who in the world would ever want to be alone anyway?

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    • I’ll try one more time, Real Honest. It’s not about whether you want to be alone or not. It’s about what God wants. And He wants above all else, to reconcile us to Himself. So if that means removing from you things that will keep you from Him, He’ll remove them. That could be money or cars or a spouse or whatever a person makes an idol. Until you say God can be God and you’ll submit to Him, you’ll not only not have a spouse, I suspect, but you’ll also not have the kind of relationship with God He wants to give you.

      Becky

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