My son shouldn't be sick. I shouldn't have constant conflict with my boss. I'm not supposed to have broken my mother's prized china. My husband wasn't supposed to be downsized out of a job. Our car shouldn't have broken down. I wasn't supposed to lose my wallet. I wasn't intended to burn the turkey.
Wherever I am, I belong there.
No, no, you might say. The bad things that happen are the result of evil in the world. God doesn't want bad things to happen to you. He loves you. He wants you to be happy.
Is God really God, then?
Is He all powerful, all knowing? Does anything take Him by surprise? Is He unable to stop evil?
Um. I don't think so.
Regardless of what I want to believe about my situation, I am in it for one of only two reasons:
Either God has willed it, or He has allowed it.
If I do not admit this, then God becomes subservient to my will, to the devil, to chance, or to something else. And He can't. If He does, He is not God.
Whatever I or someone else has done to cause my present circumstances, God did not stop them. They happened. They may not look good, but my loving, perfect God has permitted them.
And this is where I get stuck.
Either God is perfect or He's not.
Either He can do anything, or He can't.
God is not selectively perfect. He is not selectively knowing. He is not selectively loving.
God is these things all the time.
He does not make me do stuff, but He does work all things together for good. He can turn my bad decisions, eventually, into good. He can turn evil inside out. He does it all the time.
He can do this because He does not live in moments of time. We do.
I see only this moment--this nasty tangle, this unfair circumstance.
God, however, sees the end of all things. He knows how a given set of circumstances works out not only for me, but for everybody everywhere. He has a plan and I can't, no matter how I mess stuff up, change it.
In fact, I am part of it:
From one man He made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth, and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him, and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, for He is not far from each one of us.--Acts 17:26-27
That's His plan.
For us to seek Him and find Him.
And, if I have to lose my wallet in the meantime, it's not God saying "Oops", it's Him working His plan.
I can live with that.