Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why? Making Sense of God's Will

How many of us have ever wondered why a loving God has not stepped in and stopped some of the atrocities happening in the world? Why did he allow these things to occur in the first place? World hunger, the holocaust, violence, war, death of children, the insidious diseases like cancer? Why do I have a friend with two children who have both had to have heart transplants? Why do bad things happen to some, and not to others? The list goes on and on.

Adam Hamilton tries to answer some of these questions in Why? Making Sense of God’s Will

From the beginning of the book where he explains that nowhere in the bible are the saints promised a perfect, easy life without any trials, to the end where he reminds us of the speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. about how he may not live to see the promised land--a speech that he gave the night before he was assassinated, Adam Hamilton uses real life situations and pastoral examples in trying to provide answers to some of life’s most difficult questions. 

He admits to not having all of the answers. But he does attempt to provide  insight and clarity. 

Four topics are discussed:1.Why Do the Innocent Suffer? 2.Why Do My Prayers Go Unanswered? 3.Why Can’t I see God’s Will for My Life? 4.Why God’s Love Prevails.

Hamilton asserts that our disappointment with God in the face of tragedy stems from our incorrect assumptions about God and scripture. He further points out that much of the theme of the Holy Bible is about people who hold on to a deep and abiding faith in God in the face of tragedy.

Then he explains that God gave humanity dominion over the planet and all that is in it, he gave us all choice and our natural state is to stray from him. These three foundational ideas begin the explanation for why things happen as they do. 

About prayer, he points out that some of our expectations may be the result of a literal translation applied to a metaphor; that Jesus didn't mean literally that we would get whatever we prayed for whenever we prayed. He points out that if this were true, people could live a reckless life, and then pray for good health and like magic, receive a healed body regardless of our life choices.  Adam quotes his Facebook followers with the observations that prayer is entering into conversation with and having communion with God. 

Concerning God’s will for our lives, the author explains that we are collaborating with God to write the story, in tandem with the rest of humanity who are all doing the same. He introduces the concept of prescriptive will-the how of living rather than the actual events in which participate.

God’s love prevails in spite of our tragedies and will one day triumph over any of the difficulties anyone experiences in the here and now. 

These are the basic principles of Why? Making Sense of God’s Will. When getting into the actual detailed explanations, I didn’t agree with all of the Adam’s theology. But I did accept much of it. Most of all I appreciate that he has begun the dialogue.

I do recommend this book for anyone who has wrestled with these same questions. The theology of everyone is not the same. I am sure that there will be some who discount all of the assertions in this book. But the main thing is to read and prayerfully decide for oneself. 


copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

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