“The first responsibility of the leader is to define reality.” Max DePree
“Bad things do happen to good people.”
The best piece of theology that I ever read was this: “When a hurricane hits land, it damages both the brothel and the church of God.” This fits my reality.
There is a philosophy about God going around that I don’t buy, and actively resist whenever I have the chance. It is the concept that we call the Prosperity Gospel. It believes that God will bless your life if you put him first. It believes that God actively prevents bad things from happening to you, and in the extreme, the Prosperity Gospel states that God wants you to be rich with money. This gospel could only be believed in America. This gospel is based on several verses: “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you.”(Matthew 6:33), “God honors those who honor Him.” (I Samuel 2:30) and several others.
What God really wants is for his people to put Him first without regard to rewards. My reality is that bad things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people. The common phrase is that stuff happens. Life is not fair. This is NOT to say that God doesn’t at times protect and cover his people. He does hear and answer prayers that are in His will.
There is a couple in my town who has given their lives to service of the poor and the down and out. Their family runs the Union Gospel Mission, and every person that they have helped, they have shared the good news of Jesus Christ. They have combined compassion and evangelism in a beautiful symphony. They are in their 80’s and are heroes to the town. They announced recently that they both have come down with cancer. They will one day be with the King that they love, and they will be satisfied. However, the reality remains that God does not give us what we deserve but what we need. We deserve judgment and He gives us grace and mercy.