In December of 2011 I stood next to a tiny casket. Inside the casket held my beautiful and fragile son. Four days earlier I had held him as he took his last breath. He didn’t make a sound because he was premature, but I knew when he left this earth. I felt it. As I stood next to his casket, people who loved us and David assembled in line to give me their condolences. I lost count of how many well meaning people muttered the phrase “It was God’s will” to me. I nodded my head, numb from all the emotion. But inside I was screaming. How was any of this God’s plan? This wasn’t the God I knew. God didn’t take babies away from their loving parents. He didn’t plan their deaths. I was lost. I couldn’t understand the reasoning. So I blamed God and in turn I almost turned my back completely on him. I didn’t. Through events that took place in our lives after I grew in understanding of God’s love and his true nature. As well as the promises he makes us in his Word.
Most people understand that God has given us free will and that he is not a dictator. However, that doesn’t stop us from overusing the phrase “It was God’s will” when tragedy happens. I understand. I have been there. I muttered this phrase as I hugged someone facing unimaginable pain. Then I walked away, praying to myself that I would never have to face what they were facing. A few years later I was on the receiving end, being told over and over again, how it was God’s will that my son died.
It took me quite a long time to realize how false that statement is. Please don’t mistake me. I believe wholeheartedly that the bible teaches God knows the future, he is all knowing. God is not a dictator though. The bible clearly teaches free will. God desires for us to choose him, to choose right but he doesn’t force someone’s hand.
Deuteronomy 20:19, 20 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.Galatians 5:13-14 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh ; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.