The Problem With The Phrase “It Was God’s Will.”

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.”
There are many other scriptures about free will. Yes God’s power is not limited by anyone. However, the bible also teaches that God does not use that power to control anyone.
So, if we have free will and God doesn’t use his power to control us, doesn’t it stand to reason that the phrase “It was God’s will” could be incorrect?
By telling a grieving parent that losing their child was God’s will, you are saying that God formed this child in their womb simply to cruelly take them away. You are saying that God controls everything. You are unwittingly denying free will and claiming that God dictates our lives. When in reality, sometimes things just happen. Death, sickness, tragedy, they all happen because we live in a fallen world. It goes way back to the first sin, when darkness and sin was ushered into the earth. Along with it came death, disaster, famine, pain, heartache, disease, and all the other sad, cruel things. It was humans that brought it all in. Not God.
I don’t get to know why David died. I don’t get to know why Pre-Eclampsia happened to me or why it even exists. I do know that God loves me. God loves David. God wanted David to be a part of our family. I do know that he formed David in my womb. I also know that it wasn’t God’s will that I lose David.
God does make things work together for the good of those who love Him. This means He can bring you back from your heartache and pain. He can bring joy and peace back into your life.
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.
The next time you are faced with someone elses tragedy, fight the urge to say “it was God’s will” because honestly, you don’t know that it was.
Until next time,
Jenna Jury


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