What Did I Do To Deserve This?

Just a couple of days ago I was talking with a friend about a car accident she had been in that nearly totaled her car. With tears in her eyes she told me she thought God has caused the car accident because she had been neglecting to tithe and possibly because of some other sin in her life. She said she knew God was trying to get her attention. I started explaining to her that her way of thinking was just not true.

The idea of Double Retribution or Retribution Theology is a common way of thinking among believers and non-believers. In fact the Fundamentalist churches I grew up in even taught it. The idea that righteous people will only experience blessings/good and the wicked will only experience bad/hardship is just not supported in Scripture. I never realized that I bought into this wrong theology until while getting my Bachelor's in Christian Studies I took a book study class on Job. Retribution Theology is found throughout the book of Job.

In the NICOT on Job, author John Hartley says this
"Job's three comforters articulate the traditional understanding of retribution in its various nuances. Because of their rigid understanding of this doctrine they can only explain Job's suffering as the result of some sin that he has committed...Suffering open's Job's eyes to the discrepancy between the belief that God punishes the wicked and the reality that in numerous cases the wicked are never punished and the innocent are caught by sudden disaster."

Retribution Theology can not explain why so many wicked people are prosperous. It certainly can offer no explanation for Hollywood. Why is America so blessed and prosperous? Why does God allow children to be aborted, have they lived a life of wickedness in the womb? How can retribution theology explain the killing of faithful Christians in China or Pakistan? It can't.

We may never really know why God causes trials in our lives. But we can cling to the promise that He is working them out for our good and for His glory. God's grace can allow us to have a response to suffering and hardship that points others to Christ. Yes, there are consequences to sin and we reap what we sow. I am so thankful that God DOES NOT give me what I really deserve. The truth is I do not deserve or warrant any of God's good graces; I am wicked and yet God has blessed me so abundantly.

God Moves in a Mysterious Way
by William Cowper

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sov’reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Top Ten Ways You Know You're Working For a Bad Para-Church Ministry

Thank you Tim Challies for the laugh. He posted this list on his blog

10. You incentivize financial giving by offering to send your donors inanimate objects that have been prayed over.

9. You’ve convened a committee to decide the name of your new Gulfstream jet.

8. Your ministry even has a Gulfstream jet.

7. Two words: scheduled revivals.

6. Your broadcast goes out only in tongues.

5. Every member of the board of directors has the same last name.

4. The guy you raised from the dead this morning is starting to smell pretty bad.

3. Your job postings include, “teeth-whitening a must.”

2. Your annual budget includes a line item for hairspray.

1. You read this list out loud and they fired you.

Tough Questions

Many of you now that my son Hudson, who is 18 months old, has Down Syndrome. I have shared in an earlier blog a little of my journey through my pregnancy and of the medical and other challenges we have faced with him. I have also shared how having a child with special needs has greatly changed my perspective and really has changed my life for the better.

As Christians, whenever we are faced with a trial, it should bring out the best in us;it should bring out the Christ in us. Usually, trials bring out the "real" us. They are a time when we are challenged to "practice what we preach." God often works in mysterious ways to bring us closer to himself and to show us that He really does know what is best.

A friend of mine sent me an article entitled "Tough Questions." It briefly describes two women whose children were both given the prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. In it the author poses some questions that I think all Christians should consider regardless of what phase of life we are in.

Click here to read the article.

What Happened to Foster Parenting

Yes we finally became licensed to be foster parents back in June. I was so excited to receive our official license in the mail. But the license came just as Drew and I felt God tugging on our hearts to make another change. Drew really felt called to return to the town where he grew up, Claxton, GA. No you probably never heard of it unless you're a fan of nasty fruitcake. We prayed God would provide a good job if that's where he wanted us and he did provide, almost immediately. So, in August 09, we moved.

The hardest part about moving for me was knowing we would have to start the foster parent licensing all over again. As I packed up the room we had readied for two little girls I was overwhelmed with emotion. I couldn't stop crying. I had felt so strongly that God had two little girls just for us who needed our home. I had spent so much time painting, picking out bedding, and preparing this room to be a respite for girls I didn't even know. As we were packing I got a call saying there was girl who needed a home. I can't describe how heart breaking it was for me to say that we could not take her.

Now we are starting the process completely over again, because every state has it's own requirements and paperwork. We still have not sold our house in Rock Hill, which is a huge financial burden for a lot of reasons. We have lowered the price about as low as we can go without having to pay someone to buy it. So we are paying a mortgage for a house we don't live in, meanwhile we are living in small two bedroom house that needs a lot of work and is not big enough for any more children. We have plans to add on, but we can't until we sell our house in Rock Hill, SC. I feel like I am in this weird limbo. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Wondering what in the world God is doing. i just want to sell that house so we can move on with our plans. I want so badly to foster or adopt.

Meanwhile I am trying to figure out what God is trying to teach me. I'm pretty sure He is trying to teach me 2 things; the same 2 things I have struggled to learn my entire life. Contentment and Patience. Yup, I have neither. Every now and then I see a hint of contentment or patience as I am reading my Bible or praying or in a moment when both kids are napping and QUIET, but they always seem to fade so quickly. Usually those brief moments end abruptly with a kid crying or the car breaking down AGAIN!

I'm still certain foster parenting and adoption is something God has for the Miles' family in the future. His timing is definitely not my timing, but I am learning to trust. I still have miles to go before I sleep.