Sickness, tragedy, and Jesus

Placing the blame where it belongs

When good comes from bad, it doesn’t mean that the bad was part of God’s design; that God orchestrated it or needed it. It simply means that God has the unique ability to take the bad, redeem it, and bring good even from it.

What was originally intended to bring harm, God can use for redemptive purposes. Sickness, pain, and tragedy don’t come from God’s loving hand, but He can bring good even from sickness, pain, and tragedy.

So, please don’t be deceived into believing that because good may have come from bad that God must have been behind it. Instead, learn to embrace the idea that He can redeem the bad for those who have surrendered the bad into His care and can bring good even from it.

Attributing tragedy to God

When we attribute sickness, disease, and tragedy to God we’re effectively saying that God is the author of evil. Yet, we know that God is light and that in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).

Therefore, to say that God is somehow behind calamity, in whatever form it may take, is to paint a different picture of God than the one displayed for us in Jesus – God’s enfleshed icon.

Jesus demonstrated the kingdom he inaugurated through his birth, life, death, and resurrection. And, healing, restoration, and exorcism composed a prominent place within these demonstrations.

The significance of this is that in and through Jesus the kingdom of God had come and was displayed through these episodes.

As Greg Boyd wrote in his book, Is God to Blame?, when Jesus confronted illness in whatever form it took, he never once looked for the hand of God in it. Instead, he viewed each person as a casualty of war.

As a result, each healing and deliverance demonstrated in and through Jesus revealed that God was against, not behind, the calamity in question, and by extension, all calamity in general.

What does this tell us? It says that healing and wholeness are states of being that reflect God’s best for us. It showcases the apex of human flourishing that God has in mind for all of us to experience. And, the anticipation of this flourishing was demonstrated via the in-breaking of His loving rule through the person of Jesus.

Therefore, life, not death, reflects God’s best for us. In fact, life, not death, reflects his best for all of creation.

Take away

With this in mind, let's step away from the notion that because good may sometimes come from bad that God must have orchestrated the event, whatever it is.

Not only is such a view contrary to the witness of scripture, but it is also contrary to the kingdom ideals that Jesus inaugurated and showcased throughout his public ministry.

Furthermore, it does an injustice to the nature and character of God we see fully revealed in Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).

So, let us place the blame where it belongs, not with God, but on the evil one, the fallen world, and the consequences of both.

Decay and death are part of the world that is. However, throughout his public ministry Jesus stood against decay and death and broke through it to display God’s dream for all of creation. In fact, Jesus came into the world to conquer death once and for all through his life, death, and resurrection.

God is never behind sickness and tragedy. God has always been and will always be against it. Let us therefore align ourselves with the kingdom Jesus inaugurated and join him in working against the decay he came to defeat.

Let’s place the blame where it belongs.

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About the author


ChristianWeek Columnist

Jeff is a columnist with ChristianWeek, a public speaker, blogger, and award-winning published writer of articles and book reviews in a variety of faith-based publications. He also blogs at jeffkclarke.com