The Big No

I listened to a sermon recently about “The Big No.” What is the “The Big No?  It’s when God says “NO” to the thing you are asking for, even though it just makes no sense for Him not to deliver.

“Don’t let that little child with cancer die.”

“Please help my husband find a job.”

“Don’t let my brother take any more drugs.”

“Keep my wife from leaving me.”

These are no-brainers, right? Why wouldn’t he deliver?

Today is the day after Easter, the day after Christians go to church and whoop it up and celebrate the birth of the Savior. It is also the day that those who don’t believe, or are aren’t sure, can be strengthened in their fear that God is indifferent to their suffering.

The thing is, sometimes God does not intervene in the world of man.

He doesn’t always undo the sin of man–remember, “sin of man” doesn’t necessarily mean the person directly affected by the above scenarios. The “sin of man” can be the dysfunctional company that fired a good employee and now someone’s husband is unemployed. It can be the so-called “friend” who led someone’s brother into drug use. It can be the culture that told someone’s wife that the grass is greener in another, extramarital relationship. It can be man-made, environmental toxins that cause cancer. It can even be the Fall, the original separation of man from God, that lead to the existence of disease in the first place.

The blunt truth is this: we want him to intervene in the way that makes the most sense to us, and usually it is a selfish request. That’s not bad-we all want children to be cancer-free, husbands to have jobs, family members to kick drugs, and marriages to stay intact. But it is self-interested. God has our interest in mind too, but the truth is, sometimes we don’t know what is really in our self-interest.

Sometimes there is a better job waiting for us.

Sometimes a family member dealing with a drug problem or marital infidelity needs to see full brokenness in order to be open to a relationship with God. Sometimes the short life a brave child is fortification for thousands to live their lives differently.

Do I think God “kills” kids with cancer? No. I think God allows hard truths to happen for greater glory.

It sucks, let’s be honest. But that is the petulant child in me, stomping my feet, for a result that makes the most sense in my limited, human brain.

There is something bigger.

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