When bad things happen to us, it’s easy to respond in two wrong ways. First, we might say that God is punishing me for something. I’ve done something wrong and I know I deserve this bad situation because of what I’ve 09 gods plansdone. I might not even be sure of what it is, but I’m sure there must be something. Or maybe I even have been doing something I shouldn’t have been doing and God is punishing me for it. The other wrong response is to think God has forsaken me. Why me, God? What did this particular tragedy fall on me? I brought this on myself, or God has unjustly let this problem come into my life. Both are wrong. Job’s friends attempted to explain his suffering by both of these methods but God ended up rebuking them for this. It was wrong! God has other reasons sometimes and it is best just to trust God through the rough times.

George Rusty says, “God is punishing me. This view of God is based entirely on circumstances. When life is good—when the kids behave and the checkbook balances—then everything between God and me is good. But, when troubles come, God is mad. He must be getting back at me for something I did wrong. When we see God this way, we ignore the fact that His very nature is good, and that His love is unconditional.” Arthur Pink even suggests that when we see God as punishing us for our sins we demean the cross of Christ. He says that it is “most dishonoring to the blood of Christ.” Rusty then talks about the other extreme: Jesus has let me down. “Often when people decide to follow Jesus, they subconsciously (or perhaps consciously) think they are signing up for a problem-free life. When bad circumstances prove them wrong, their faith is shaken.” They thought things were supposed to be good now!

Paul shows us the proper perspective on trials in our life in Philippians 1:12. He write, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” He didn’t say, “I’m in jail because God is punishing me.” He didn’t say, “God has let me down.” No, he’s convinced that even his imprisonment is working out to accomplish God’s will regarding the spreading of the message of the Gospel. Many argued with Paul when he insisted on returning to Jerusalem where he knew he’d be arrested. They assumed that imprisonment and adversity would ruin the church. But just the opposite happened. God often works that way in believer’s lives. Paul knew that well that’s when he means in Romans 8:28 when he writes, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord, for those called according to His purpose.”