Have you ever considered the fact that the situations in which we choose to make a statement about God and the situations in which we choose to not make that same statement says something about how we view God and believe about Him?
Let me give two examples based upon my experience as a pastor (and I don’t think it’s unique).
Here’s the first situation: a person announces that s/he is having a test that will reveal whether or not s/he has cancer. If…
…the test comes back negative for cancer, the common statement is “Praise God, God is good.”
…the test comes back positive for cancer, the common statement is “(not praise God, God is good).”
Here’s the second situation: a car accident or nearly a car accident. If…
…nearly an accident, a common statement from people is “God must have been watching over you.”
…the accident does happen, “(not ‘God must have been watching over you’).”
What’s the common element that determines when the statement is or isn’t made? Whether or not the outcome is the one the person desires.
The outcomes where we choose to make a statement or choose not to make that same statement reveals much about our true belief, view, and approach to God. I believe there are many who, though they wouldn’t admit it, but determined by when they choose to make or not make a statement about God, truly have a “genie in the lamp” view of God. God is judged through what happens to us.
And God becomes an “arbitrary” God, choosing on whims to do or allow this or that, all depending on His mood at that particular moment and whether or not He likes a person at that time.
For example, two people have tests for cancer. One comes back negative while the other comes back positive. When the statement, “Praise God, God is good,” about God is only made in response to the negative result, the next logical step in a person’s mind is that God cared more about the person who received the negative result than the one who received the positive result. Because, so the logical reasoning goes, if God truly cared about them both and not just the one, wouldn’t He have given them both a negative result?
See how that could give a person a skewed view of God?
What all of this forgets is what God says to the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “And He answered me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for the power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly, I will all the more boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ my dwell upon me.”
Why does God choose to allow one person to have a negative test result while another to have a positive one? I cannot answer that specifically, but this I do know: He doesn’t do it arbitrarily, but His decision will be the best path for His power to be revealed in a person’s life. It will also be the best way that He can be what He needs to be for that person at that time.
Therefore, our responses should be the same whether we consider the outcome positive or negative because, no matter the result, God is always working and using all things to demonstrate His power and to be what He needs to be for us at that time so that His goal of conforming us to the image of Christ is furthered.