Today we pay a return visit to the blog of Justin Petrick Ministries. Although he doesn’t seem to be writing frequently at present, there are some great articles there on file. As always, don’t read the posts here, click the title below to read at the author’s website or blog.
I do not know about you, but it can be easy for me to attribute hurtful and painful past experiences to the hand of God. Why do you think that is? Why do we blame God for our hurts and pains? Why is it easy for us to derive a perverted sense of peace when something happens to us that causes us hurt and pain, by saying that God is the author of it or even that He has ‘allowed’ it?
When we look back at God’s original design, the Garden of Eden, it is perfection. The Garden of Eden, also the place of perfect relationship with God, was not only a garden of perfect provision, but physical, emotional, and mental stability, or peace. Why would we think that God deviated from this plan of His or reverted to a plan B, when man chose to sin rather than to stay in perfect communion with Him?
I don’t think He did. And being that God’s original design was perfection, I do not believe that God orchestrates pain and hurt for us to experience or to grow and mature us. There is a drastic difference in our hurts and pains turning out for our good or God using hurts and pains to grow and mature us (Romans 8:28) compared to believing He is the author of hurts and pains. Let us look at this Biblically:
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Harm is emotional, mental, or physical distress, so to speak. God would never put you into a position to harm you mentally, physically, or emotionally. It is not His original plan of perfect love, nor is it in His perfect, loving nature for He is a God of love (1 John 4:8).
The Hebrew word for ‘harm’ in Jeremiah 29:11, is ‘ra`’ (רַע), and means “bad, malignant, unpleasant, displeasing, worse than, sad, unhappy, hurtful, wicked, misery, calamity, distress, adversity, injury, wrong, etc.”. To many of us, these characteristics fit experiences that we believe God orchestrated or allowed to happen.
But what is interesting, is that this word “harm” comes from the root word ‘ra`a`’ (רָעַע), which means “evil”. And we know in James 1:13 that God will not test or tempt us with evil, or with ‘ra`’ (רַע) (experiences characterized as bad, malignant, unpleasant, displeasing, worse than, sad, unhappy, hurtful, wicked, misery, calamity, distress, adversity, injury, wrong, etc.).
Evil is the absence of a loving God, it is the absence of love; a void of love. Being that God is love (1 John 4:8), evil is the absence of God or His presence, ability, character, or nature. Evil is the absence of His plan. There is no hurt and pain in God’s love nor in His plan for you. It is not in His nature. He is not the author of evil. He is the restorer. He is the rescuer, the shelter, the rock. He builds up what has been broken down. He takes our hurt and pain and turns it into wholeness and victory, confidence, wisdom, and knowledge.
The things in our life that bring us hurt and pain are characterized by the plan of Satan, not God:
John 10:10 (NIV): The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Satan comes to steal health, marriages, families, jobs, security, stability, etc. He wants you to doubt God, doubt the power and design of His love for you and your life. He wants to steal the Truth and the Life, the Word, from your heart. In fact, he wants to speak lies into you about God’s nature, His very heart.
Another reason we know God does not orchestrate hurts and pains, is because He is moved by our hurts and pains, or infirmities.
Hebrews 4:15 (KJV): For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
God is moved by how you feel. When you feel hurt, manipulated, lied to, cheated on, let down, bailed on, forgotten, etc., it moves the heart of God! He feels your pain!
In fact, God is so moved by our iniquities that it is what killed the body of Jesus. Jesus died of a broken heart. One of the greatest verses that gives us physiological, medical insight into the death of Jesus is John 19:34:
John 19:34 (KJV): “But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”
When you think about someone being stabbed, one would expect to only see blood come out similar to a deep cut, just more of it. John obviously thought it was important to mention that not only blood flowed from when the solider speared Jesus, but water as well. And he was correct. This small piece of information is very important.
We know that when blood sits, the red blood cells naturally separate from the plasma, which looks like water or is the watery part of your blood, giving the appearance of blood and water flowing as John stated. So, where was this blood and water able to sit? The heart, which is what the solider punctured when he speared Jesus.
There is a membrane that surrounds the heart called the pericaridal sac. When a heart ruptures, blood leaks from the heart and fills the pericardial sac and while it sits, blood will separate from the plasma. Jesus did not die of asphyxiation, but of a broken heart when He took the sins and sickness of the entire world on Him (John 1:29).
Isaiah 53:4 (KJV): Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
This is how much Jesus loves you, to willingly take on so much sin and pain that it literally broke His heart. This is why He is moved by the feelings of your infirmities. He bore what you are going through today when He was crucified on the cross. This is the nature and love of Jesus Christ. He has literally sacrificed His body and heart that we might have life with Him for eternity.
This is the magnitude of His love, and it blows my mind when I really think about it, about how much pain and agony is in the world that was placed in Him, all for the simple reason of Him justifying us through this selfless act of love, that we might be conquerors over everything that caused Him to die of a broken heart. This is how much He loves YOU.
God is not the one that orchestrates pain and hurt. He is the one that gives you the ability to overcome hurts and pains so that you may live life in His fullness and joy (Psalm 16:11).