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PASTOR JOSHUA WINSLETT: Why is this happening? (column)

Pastor Joshua Winslett

Pastor Joshua Winslett

It is inevitable. Whenever something bad happens, many begin to ask the typical questions. Why did this happen? What is God saying?

These questions, and others, are certainly understandable. Most of us are trying to make sense of the situations dealt to us. This is especially true this year. We are all seeking answers.

All believers understand that nothing happens outside of God’s governing. However, within God’s governing, he causes some things and permits others. 

This means that God is not the direct cause of every act or event. There are many possible reasons for the calamities and events that burden our hearts. Let us consider them. 

Frist, some events are the persecution of Satan (1 Peter 5:8, 4). Second, some circumstances are due to natural probability, or the normal process of time (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Third, we are sometimes experiencing the natural consequence of our actions (Proverbs 29:15, 5). Fourth, sometimes God chastises his children for sinful behavior (Hebrews 12:6, 6). Fifth, disciples often encounter divine purging in the process of sanctification (John 15:1-3, 7). Sixth, some circumstances are for the glory of God (John 9). Seventh, all people apart from Christ often experience God’s temporal judgment against them in this life and future wrath (Colossians 3:5).

Ultimately, God’s verbal communication ended with the close of the cannon, the completion of the New Testament (Revelation 22:19). We do not know the reason for our circumstance.

2020 and all of its trials could be due to any of the reasons listed above. So, what are we to do? We must remember that our circumstances, and the cause of them, do not determine our reaction.

Jesus once addressed the disciples regarding a group that had been killed by Pontus Pilot, the Roman governor of Israel (Luke 13:1-2). 

These individuals were called Galileans  and they desired to have Israel separate from Rome. This seemingly enraged Pilot, who then sent soldiers to kill them as they had come to the Feast of Passover.

The question Jesus addressed was whether or not these individuals were greater sinners than others because they had died in such a manner. Jesus’s answer was simple, “Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). 

Jesus reframes their perspective. Instead of questioning the sinfulness of the Galileans, Jesus commands his disciples to look at the circumstances happening to others as moments to repent.

This admonition, as Bible commentator John Gill points out, primarily deals with those of Christ’s day repenting before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. However, as American believers, let’s consider Jesus’s words. 

We should focus on our own relationship with Christ instead of obsessing over the cause of the circumstances. Every event, even every trial, should work as a catalyst for us to grow closer to God through continual repentance. We may not know the reason for our circumstances, but we should use them all to draw us to God. 

Our circumstances may change, but our reaction should always be the same. May each of us consider our own ways before God and repent.

Joshua Winslett is the pastor of Beulah Primitive Baptist Church in Leeds.