Author and Speaker Merlin Carothers tells of a woman who asked for prayer concerning her daughter. Her daughter was not “following the Lord,” as church people say; in fact she was an exotic dancer at a strip club. Before joining the mother in prayer, Carothers encouraged the her to thank God for her daughter’s current lifestyle. But the woman immediately recoiled at the thought. She insisted that it was not proper to thank God for the devil’s work.
Carothers has devoted his life to one central message: Praise God for all things. But like the woman in this story, many of us may find it difficult obeying such a message. Of course the act itself is not difficult, but as Carothers notes, doing so sincerely will be difficult if we are not convinced of a deeper truth; namely: That God is responsible for all circumstances in our lives, not just the good stuff, but also the bad stuff, also, and that He is using all of it for our good.
The difficulty for many will be that one phrase, “but also the bad stuff.” But if it is true that God is using even the bad things in our lives for our good, and He is in some way responsible for it, this has profound theological implications.
And if Carothers is correct, it also means the difference between seeing personal breakthrough and missing out, on being in full cooperation with God’s plans, and falling short in lack of faith.
So this is the question I wish to explore over the next few posts: Is God, or is He not, responsible for all circumstances in our lives, including the bad things? I look forward to your responses.