The Blame Game

When something goes wrong, or even is out of the ordinary, it is quite normal to seek the reason. Mechanically we look for a glitch, morally we look for a culprit, and philosophically we look for an ultimate cause.

COVID-19 suspects have included everything from bat soup to germ warfare to a research experiment gone rogue. But even if we discover enough clues to solve the case and pay for damages, what do we do with the seeming senselessness of it all? It’s like discovering graffiti or vandalism. We shake our heads, asking, “Was this necessary???

The Bible has a layered and potentially satisfying approach to such questions. When the disciples asked why a man was born blind (John 9), Jesus encouraged them to look past genetics and karma to God’s glory. When the early church wanted to make sense of the Crucifixion, they pointed beyond the wicked men (Acts 2:23) to the set purposes of God. When Job’s trouble is unraveled, the Bible peers through weather, marauders, and Satan to see God Himself (Job 2:3; 42:11).

Jesus was fully aware of the “secondary causes” which led up to His trial, but explained to Pilate himself (John 19:11) that while there were levels of blameworthiness, ultimately all power is in God hands.

How does this help us? God’s attributes, or qualities, enable us to endure trials of any kind courageously and faithfully: God is good, just, all-powerful, all-knowing, and wise. As such, He works all things for the good of His people and the glory of His name, showing both grace on the one hand and accountability on the other.

Those who oppose God and despise His sovereign right to govern His Creation will not be satisfied with that answer. But it delights those who believe His self-revelation and embrace His promises.

Facing pain as God’s children, from petty annoyance to profound adversity, we are fully secure in committing ourselves to a faithful Creator and compassionate Father, as did Jesus (1 Peter 2:23; 4:19). In any trial, that is what we know, and all we need to know.

“Father, we rest in Jesus, knowing that seeing Him is seeing You. Thank you for sending Him to walk down dark paths to pay for our sins and show us the way through trials. Amen.”

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