Cause and effect.
We see it everywhere. The season changes, and so the leaves fall off the trees. A drop of water hits a calm lake, and ripples follow. I cheer for the Detroit Lions, and so I’m consistently disappointed. (Or maybe this is their year?!)
Too many times this is how we view the struggles and trials that come into our lives. We subconsciously tie good things that happen to the good things we’ve done. We think, “If I do enough good stuff, then good will come back to me.”
We think the opposite is true as well. If someone does enough bad stuff, then bad stuff should come their way. I’ve heard it said this way, “What goes around, comes around.” And while this saying has some merit, it’s often applied too generally.
I’ve shared my cancer story on this blog, and I’ve had my eBook out for a couple of months now. And one of the major things I’ve learned relates to this very topic of “If this, then that.”
I don’t believe that I was diagnosed with cancer because I did, or said, something that God didn’t like. I’ve done, and said, MANY things that were outside of God’s will for me. God is not an angry ‘being’ up in Heaven waiting to play the cause and effect game. Cancer wasn’t a result of bad behavior (or lack of good behavior).
I believe the same thing about whatever storm you’re facing. The storm didn’t come as a result of anything you did or said.
There is one caveat.
There are times that we do stupid things and bring storms on. For example, a thief who gets caught will suffer the consequences. If I bang my head against the wall enough times, I’ll likely do some damage. In these scenarios, cause and effect is alive and applicable.
But I’m not talking about that.
I’m talking about the unexpected storms. The storms that blindside us. For me, it was a cancer diagnosis. For you, it’s likely something else. The question is, why do these storms come? Is it simply “a part of life”? Perhaps. But could there be more of an explanation?
John 16:33 does indicate that as long as we’re on this side of the dirt, we’re going to experience hardships. The context could have Jesus talking about spiritual persecution, but I think it applies generally as well. We won’t leave this world unscathed. Everyone reading this likely has a PhD in life storms — tough circumstances are a part of life.
But what if there was another way to look at the trials? What if we began to change the question surrounding trials? That’s the reason for my eBook.
Instead of sitting in a “why me?” mentality that is rooted in “If this, then that”; what if we were to see trials as a part of spiritual discipleship and evangelism? What if God used the trials in our lives to grow us, and to reach others?
I think that would change the game when it came to suffering in this life. Storms would still suck, but storms would turn into something useful.
What storms might you be facing? How do you see God using that to grow you or to reach others?