I've been thinking about the loss of life we've experienced lately as a community-nation. The massacre in Newtown, CT and the killing of the police officers in Topeka, KS are grim reminders of the incredible evil and hate that we humans are capable of unleashing.
My intention is not to minimize the deaths of any of these people - death is difficult no matter the circumstances or the person involved. I'm sure the family of the gunman in CT, as sad as they are for the great loss of life, are mourning his death as well.
I have also tried not to trivialize the events as is so easy to do on social media sites. I've seen tons of posts about how our society/government is to blame because we "kicked God out of school." I'm not sure which god is being referred to here but my God doesn't listen to men and is everywhere all the time. So He could not stop being in the schools anymore than He could stop loving you, or stop knowing everything. Or stop being all-powerful. Gun control. Prayer in School. Metal detectors at the doors. None of these will stop evil. None will stop death. None will stop those who desire to wreak havoc, create fear and destroy lives.
I was reading this morning in Revelation 16 and was struck by something. I don't want to get into any theological debate about literal or figurative just consider this thought. The consequences of man's behavior in that chapter have finally been exacted. But instead of humanity recognizing it's selfishness and expressing it's sorrow. Humanity curses God for the effects of it's own behavior.
It's like this. There are times when my children have been defiant. Instead of an immediate punishment, in an attempt to help them discover a Truth, I allow my children to make their own decisions, warning that if they do what they want it's fine, but they will have to live whatever the effects of their decision are. This is not about any punishment they might receive from me, but the natural consequences of selfish or negative behaviors. In the end my kids usually figure out what's going on and decide to do the right thing. When they don't, they live with the results of their behavior.
At least once, each child who defiantly does their own thing, will also complain when it comes time for the results. For instance, I might remind my child, they don't have to do their reading if they're tired, but if they do not get it done and reach their goal, they will not get to go on the field trip with the rest of their class that did get their work done. A few weeks later I've got a sad kid who didn't make their goal and can't go on the field trip. They then might have a tendency to get mad at me for not making them read, or their teacher for having the rule in the first place. It is these teachable moments that are both difficult and incredibly rewarding as a parent. I have had to explain that my child has no right to be mad at anyone but themselves. They chose not to do the reading. They knew the criteria for the trip before hand. There was no conspiracy or ill will toward them they are simply experiencing what it is like to be an adult and have to live with the results of their decisions.
Throughout the Bible and history - up to today - God has been making Himself known. He does this through various ways and means and through His creation. And all along He has been expressing the way things work. House rules if you will. If you are intimate before marriage you will have to deal with emotional scars and physical scars/diseases that will stay with you the rest of your life and affect not only you but your spouse and perhaps your children. Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only. These are just two for example. So if we, as humanity should chose to disregard His house rules and do our own thing that's fine with Him. He's a big God - you don't have to listen to Him, He's still God - He can handle it if you go your own way and do your own thing. But eventually you will have to deal with the result of your decisions.
At that time you have lost the right to complain about the punishment because you knew going in that there would be one. Look, Newton said that every object, when it comes into contact with another object of mass creates a result that is equal to the initial action but in the opposite direction. We say, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
The same is true in our spiritual and emotional lives. Every decision we make, every choice, every direction change creates an equal and opposite reaction in our lives. We may not immediately notice it (though we might!) but it's there.
The next time you want to complain to God about a result, consider the event that initiated that result. And don't complain about the house rules, recognize your own complicity in causing the initial action that resulted in this opposite and equal reaction. And then learn from it.