Does God cause everything to happen for a reason? This idea has caused a lot of heartache for a lot of people, what if it’s not completely the truth? Tune in today to challenge this idea and get a clearer idea of how God’s plan works in our lives. When you give at Harmony, you are investing in life change and are Advancing the Kingdom! GIVE TODAY, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give .
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OPENING: I was sitting there preparing to work on this sermon and trying to think of all the times I’ve heard someone say this next thing that is a bad thing good Christians believe. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it thousands of times. And it’s the kind of thing that every time I hear it, I want to stop the person and have a theological conversation, but it’s always in a moment where you can’t really do that. Here’s where it happens…
You are in a car wreck and your only car is totaled, you only have liability insurance and you are talking to your friend, telling them how you don’t know what to do and they say…
Well, I just have to believe, everything happens for a reason…
Or maybe you find out that the company you work for is embezzling money, specifically the insurance premiums they take out of your paycheck. You are lit up about it and telling everyone in your bible study and some well-meaning person says,
You know, everything happens for a reason…
Now, I know some of you are sitting out there going, But Kent, Everything does happen for a reason…
You were taught this growing up, you’ve said it a million times
It helps you to feel better when everything seems senseless
The problem with this phrase is there is an underlying message that you may have never thought of, but I guarantee, the people you are saying it to are hearing.
The underlying message is that God is the cause of the pain and suffering I’m going through.
ILLUSTRATION: I have known people who have adult children who hate God, can’t stand Him because they have gone through terrible horrific things, and end up blaming God for it. Why do you think they blame God? They blame God because
The message they’ve heard all their lives is that God causes terrible things to happen in our lives as part of His plan
So, here’s the question does God have a specific plan for your life?
And if so, is He forcing that plan onto your life.
Some of you, when you heard the question does God have a specific plan for your life immediately thought of a passage out of Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 29:11 11 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.
Boom, mic drop Kent! What’s up! That passage, clearly says that God has a plan for our lives
This is what we put on cards for people graduating high school, for people entering into the workforce, and people who are going through terrible times of suffering…
What’s crazy to me is we never read verse 10 to see whom God is talking to…
Jeremiah 29:10-11 10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 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.
So, if you are a Jewish person who has been exiled into Babylon for 70 years, turns out this passage is actually for you.
This passage isn’t for us as a promise, it was a promise to the Jewish people about God’s deliverance for them.
But, let’s say, you decide this promise can be applied to us
I want you to notice, the promise of God’s plans in this passage is not to harm you but prosper you, to give you hope, and a future
God’s plans are to work good, not evil…
“Ok, so are you saying God doesn’t have any plan, that everything is just left up to some cosmic game of chance?
The scripture is clear, God does have an ultimate plan
But we are not just actors on God’s stage, reciting the words and actions He’s pre-determined.
Quickly, here are two reasons I don’t believe God is dictating every action in human history:
1 Sam 23:7-14 David, before he had become king was cornered in Keilah, the King at the time, Saul, had been told this is where David was and he wanted to hunt him down like a dog. David found out that Saul was after him and he asked the priest if he would ask God if he were to stay, will the people of that town hand him over or not. The priest tells David, Saul will come and the people will turn you over. So, David and his men leave.
Listen to what happens:
1 Sam 23:13-14 13 So David and his men, about six hundred in number, left Keilah and kept moving from place to place. When Saul was told that David had escaped from Keilah, he did not go there. 14 David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.
The future God predicts does not come to passWhy?Because God can see every possible outcome of every potential move we make.
God is never surprised by our decisions. But He does not* dictate them.
Listen, Jesus getting close to His own death is looking over Jerusalem and He has this reminiscent tender moment thinking about the people in this community… Listen…
Luke 13:34 34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
Jesus, who is God, has longed – has willed – that Jerusalem would come to Him for protection, but THEY were not willing.
God was willing, but they were not.
God, in His grace, allows us to exert our own will on this world.
This means, sometimes, things happen, because we live in a fallen world.
It means some things happen because people are evil
Sometimes bad things happen because mankind has gone our own way
God warned Adam and Eve that death would enter the world if they abandoned Him for their own way.
CLOSING: That can sound like God is calloused and was just like, “screw you, I’m out…” But that’ not what He did. God knew this was a potential eventuality, remember, he knew that all this could happen. So, God had a plan – this is His ultimate plan. Adam and Eve turn from Him and all mankind has continued to turn from Him, I even think that us thinking God would have a specific plan for our lives reveals just how deep our self-orientation has gone. To think the whole world must revolve around us. So, God looks at this, He calls a man named Abraham because Abraham will be the ancestor to Jesus. He rescues Joseph out of a well, so he can bring Israel to Egypt to save them from Famine, He will bring Moses at 80 years old out of retirement to lead His people out of the slavery Egypt has now put them in. He will call a red-headed shepherd boy to kill a giant and become King. He will work tirelessly to weave this thread throughout all of History to bring one moment in time where a baby will breathe its first breath so that it can die on a cross so He can save us from the brokenness of our relationship with God.
God will do whatever it takes to keep His ultimate plan in place – to redeem humanity and bring about the restoration of all things.
He would even die for you…
If anything has ever drawn you to God, THAT was Him. It’s always been Him…