2. The World Starts to Make Sense

Top 10 Ways Reading the Bible Changed My Life: 2. The World Started to Make Sense

“Why does this keep happening?”  

“What kind of God allows murderers and pedophiles to exist?” 

“If God was real, he would never allow so much pain and suffering to go on!”  

After the Parkland Shooting where seventeen students were killed by a gunman in my own state of Florida, I passed by an employee from a different department, an older white woman.  

So emotional, she said, “Why does this keep happening!”  

And I confess…I smirked. Sounds horrible doesn’t it?

There’s nothing funny about seventeen innocent students losing their lives. Or the pain this employee felt in her sympathy. So why did I smirk? I thought about that for days. Felt guilty about it for days.  

The answer is, and this might sounds arrogant…but the truth is I’ve gotten really good about seeing the big picture, predicting what’s going to happen, and understanding why it happened.  

Let me put it this way. In my younger more unrefined days…I got in trouble when I was chatting with a girl who had medical procedure. After she alluded to it, I flat out asked, “What kind of procedure did you have?” 

She said she had breast reduction surgery. And right then and there, I let out this unbelievably loud obnoxious laugh. It was horrible. I felt super terrible about it. That’s one of my biggest flaws. I have a very impulsive laugh that sometimes comes out at the most inappropriate moments. Like if I catch your facial expression when you almost slip on something.

However, the reason why I started laughing, wasn’t because of the surgery itself. It was an immature “I KNEW IT!” laugh. Not to make excuses but I was 24, I was terribly sorry, went through all kinds of hell because of that three-second outburst…and even though that was back in 2011…honestly, it’s still me.

If I suspect something’s going to happen and it does happen, especially without my interference, I’m sorry…but I think that’s so cool. It’s one of my favorite gifts. I don’t laugh like a maniac anymore, but every now and then…I’ll smirk or give a restrained chuckle that sounds like a soft whimper.

“Wow, Rock. Sounds very full of yourself.” 

Yeah, I get that. And hopefully you appreciate that just because I’m a Christian who’s read the Bible, doesn’t mean I’m without faults. The difference between myself and others is that I’m aware of them, and I’m working on it.

When the old woman complained about the shooting, I think I smirked because for some reason it made me proud that I had a better grasp on the world than she did. Not saying it’s good that I had such pride…just admitting I had it. 

“Why does this keep happening?”  

“What kind of God allows murderers and pedophiles to exist?” 

“If God was real, he would never allow so much pain and suffering to go on!” 

Before I picked up the Bible, I had the same questions as everyone else. The world wasn’t make sense. Everything seemed so stupid and pointless. The wicked was winning. Immorality was celebrated and I felt like there was something wrong with me for refusing to simply go along with the times. It wasn’t unusual for me to say, “feels like I was born in the wrong era.”  

However, when I started reading the Bible…everything started to make sense. The pieces of the puzzle were falling into place. While I give my parents a lot of credit for their hand in instilling the Christian foundation in me, they failed to prepare me for the realities of this current system. It’s like the saying goes, “knowledge is the awareness of the principles, but wisdom is the ability to apply it to your life.” 

What do I mean?  

Well, it’s kind of like all these college students who have been indoctrinated into to believe Leftist, Social Justice ideals. While they’re in college surrounded by people who all act and think the way they do, it’s great. But when they graduate and have to survive in the real world…well, the numbers speak for themselves. Less Millennials are owning homes and getting married. Their debt is through the roof and instead of taking responsibility, everyone’s quick to blame someone else: their parents, the generations before them, institutional racism, sexism, or the government. 

I felt something similar when I left the nest and got out in the real world. I was taught to be a good, moral, virtuous person. But you have to play the game to win. To be a “nice guy” in today’s society only gets you so far if you want to be rich and famous, which was what I wanted. I wanted to be the greatest voice of my generation. Instead, society called Lena Dunham the voice of my generation. 

I was extremely frustrated and felt so detached from today’s current culture that seemed to celebrate and worship celebrities and popular opinion. The MeToo Movement exposed more than people care to admit. Producers were only able to take advantage of those up-and-coming actresses because those actresses were willing to do what it took to succeed. Sexual immorality and self-indulgent behavior is praised and encouraged among young stars. Tim Tebow, Chris Pratt, and Mike Pence living by their Christian faith, that’s bad.

When I picked up the Bible, it became clear to me why this was happening. What I’m about to say, I want you to know, I was guilty of the same thing. And sometimes, I still fall for it even as a committed Christian. I was guilty of wanting to please humans more than I wanted to please God.  

When it was written, you can’t serve two masters. You can’t serve God and money.” This is true because if you try, you’ll fail at both.  

More and more people are distancing themselves from Christian principles. Trusting more in the logic and wisdom of human beings, than God. They’re seeking the approval of humans, more than God. 

This isn’t new. The Old Testament, particularly from the Book of Samuels to the book of Isaiah where we see a chronicle of Israel’s kings and the history of Jerusalem, it teaches us about the perennial bad habit of humans. Forgetfulness.  

When God steps in and directly helps us, we’re faithful, grateful, and heap loads of worship on him. But over time, because everything’s going so good, we take his grace for granted, we forget what God’s done for us and start to think we don’t need him in our lives. 

I’ve even heard it said from other Christians that “there’s no place for God in ___” Whether it’s politics, school, or business. It’s completely absurd. How do you think you got this far? Why do you think God gave us the Bible in the first place? Back before the Bible was the Bible, why do you think he gave humans prophets and messengers? He loves us, wants us to do well, to enjoy life and prosper. But we can’t do it leaning upon our own understanding. 

Turn on the news. What do you see? Division. Contradiction. Uncertainty. Prognostications. And if you’re really exposed to the truth, then you see more than the words and so-called good intentions. You see motives, agendas, plans of action. You see all of this because the Bible has opened your eyes to see it. We as humans think we’re so slick and clever. As if no other human throughout history has tried it.  

I’ll give you an example. I’ve written a more detailed essay, but the truth about divorce is that humans think they can avoid the more serious sin of adultery by simply divorcing their spouse. They’ll say, all sin is sin, as if every sin is equal with no one sin weighing more heavily than another, but that’s false. It’s a trick to get you to not be ashamed of this heavy sin with the idea that you’re exactly the same as everyone else. 

In reading the Bible from cover to cover, you fill your mind with knowledge of what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen. You understand why bad things happen and if you’re a believer, you know it isn’t because God hates us. It’s because with our freewill, we’ve chosen to disobey and do what’s good in our own eyes, as opposed to what’s good in God’s eyes.  

Simply put…we’ve done this to ourselves. The Book of Deuteronomy, particularly Chapter 28, is a perfect example of logic and reason, cause and effect. In this chapter, which I encourage everyone to read, Moses provides a list of blessings God will give if you obey his Word. And then he provides a list of the curses you’ll face if you disobey. The choice is yours. And yes, God sometimes lets people appear to get away with doing what’s bad to test you.  

In Ecclesiastes 8:11, King Solomon (one of the wisest men who ever lived) wrote, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of man becomes emboldened to do bad.”  

“Well, Rock. Why does God have these rules for us to begin with? Why can’t we just do what we want and still avoid the bad things!?”  

If you jump off a cliff, you’ll probably fall really fast and succumb to blunt force trauma. What happened? You were just doing what you wanted. It was fun at first. Why didn’t you survive? Consider Timothy Treadwell, an environmentalist and enthusiast of bears. He lived amongst grizzly bears for over thirteen years…until in 2003 when he was literally eaten by a bear.  

In reading the Bible, I’ve come to understand that it isn’t just this staunch dictatorial “rule book.” It’s more of an instruction manual for life. Instead of looking at it as if God is imposing these unreasonable restrictions on us…the best way to view it is like a loving father watching over us toddlers as we navigate the world. Look both ways before you cross the road. Don’t pick things up off the street and eat it. Be careful about talking to strangers. Don’t steal. Respect your parents.  

Could it be that these instructions are more so to ensure our own peace and happiness?  

If engineers have instructions on how to build a bridge, yet they choose to ignore those instructions and build it however way they wanted because they think they know better than the architect…what right do we have to get mad at the architect when the bridge collapses, plunging hundreds into the bay? 

“I’m saying though! Why does wickedness exist in the first place? If God’s the Grand Creator, didn’t he create sin?”  

He created us. He gave us free will. We chose to sin. If you’re asking why he created Satan who tempted us, or why he created the tree knowing we’d probably eat from it, I’d say, imagine a world where he didn’t. Imagine a world where Satan was never created and he never gave us any rules about eating from a tree.  

Now what? Can you grasp it? What kind of life would this be if there were no challenges, where there was no choice of doing right or wrong because everything is right? How well would we really know God? What would be the point of our existence? How meaningful would it truly be? If you’re not worshiping God, striving to do good in God’s eyes…who would you worship? Nobody? Yourself? 

I’ve pondered these questions for a long time and in the end, I’m glad Jehovah created Satan. I’m glad he put the tree in the Garden of Eden. And I’m glad Adam sinned. Yes, the consequence of all this has caused countless deaths, destruction, despair and tragedies…but it also gave us the greatest gift of all. The ability to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father. If Adam never sinned, it would never have put into motion the sequence of events that led to God’s direct intervention in our lives, rescuing us, preparing us, guiding us, fighting for us, defending us, and giving us hope for something better.  

Think about why the Greek myths are so fascinating. Hercules. Zeus. Perseus. Odysseus. When I was in middle school, I pored through those stories. And I think what made them so cool and interesting is that justice plays out. We can’t depend on each other as men, jealousy, envy, and ambitions will always surface. Thus we need something more powerful, with greater authority than a mere mortal to be the deciding factor.  

The Greek Myths are indeed myths. Knowing that Jehovah is real, the God of Armies, who gave us Moses, and David, and Samson and Elijah and his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. It’s an amazing thing that probably would never have come to pass if Adam had not sinned. 

Think about it, the concept of heaven or hell. The promise of good things happening to us. None of this is owed to us. Out of his grace, God gave us life. We’re not entitled to anything else. But he chooses to help us. He chooses to bless us. He chooses to send messengers and his only son to sacrifice himself for us. 

That’s why it’s so odd and sad to hear people talk about God as if he’s nothing but wrath and violence.  

Put it this way, consider the most powerful emperors to ever live, Genghis Kahn, Alexander the Great, Ieyasu Tokugawa, the Caesars of Rome…if the people disobeyed and needed to atone for their crimes, which of these emperors would sacrifice their only son who was there since the beginning building the empire and working hand in hand with the emperor, which of these emperors would send that beloved son to be punished in place of a people who cursed his name and turned their backs on him?  

And he wasn’t just “punished,” as in a swift beheading or a gunshot to the temple. He had flesh ripped from his back from a flogging. He was dragged through the streets with a mob of people spitting on him, a crown of thorns digging into his forehead. He was nailed to a cross and stretched up so that with each breath, he felt the sensation of suffocation. Give me one human leader or God written about throughout history who would let his son go through all that for us.  

The Old Testament teaches us about God’s character. There is a lot of violence and wrath, yes, but I dare say, it’d be no different the wrath we’d personally feel if we did so much for others, asked for very little, and they spit in our faces, choosing to give credit for what we’ve done to a carved rock or a tree. God is the epitome of righteousness and justice and anything else is just our own selfish desires of what we want to happen, a selfish desire that might conflict with the desire of another human, like your own neighbor, which is why battles, wars, and murder happen.  

Without God’s word there is no right or wrong, only popular opinion. Even if the argument is over a popular opinion regarding the interpretation of God’s word, the issue isn’t God’s word…it’s people. And Romans Chapter 14 should (should have) squash such arguments from coming to the point of bloodshed or hatred.  

In the end… I won’t say you’re no longer upset or angered by the injustices going in the world, but more so it’s easier for you to relax and let go of the injustices of the world. Explain what’s happening to others, sure, but deep down you take comfort in knowing everything is going according to God’s plan. 

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