Faith and Testing God

–I’m bothered when people say the selling of their house was a work of God when in reality it was a work of a real estate agent.

–I’m bothered when some “Christian” politician wins and chalks it up to God giving them a miraculous victory when their campaign did the same thing every other campaign did.

–I’m bothered when people claim their injury was healed by God when it was healed by medicine and doctors just like the heathen scum’s injury next to them.

When I share these thoughts the Christian response is “Well, it was God, He puts government officials in place, he is behind buying and selling, and He designed the systems that heal people.”

Right, I get that, no problem. Giving God thanks for stuff is fine, but to chalk it up as a mighty work of God, as in a super-natural miracle, when in reality it was a natural process, seems off.

If God was truly displaying his power your house would have sold without you telling anyone it was for sale. If your politician was to win by an act of God there would have been no campaign. If God really did miraculously heal your injury you wouldn’t have needed a doctor or medicine.

Yet I would usually not encourage someone to forego realtors, campaigning or doctors because those are means in existence our brain can figure out how to use. To not use them may show faith, or it may be testing God.

I imagine whatever I have said here is unclear and comes across as being down on miracles or God’s sovereignty. This is not my point. My point is the fine line between faith and testing God.

To not use natural means in order to allow God to do a super-natural miracle takes faith, yet sometimes it’s nothing more than testing God, laziness with a theological veneer.

In summary, two main points:

1) If you’re using natural means, don’t say it was a miracle because that’s the exact opposite of the Bible’s usage of the word and
2) If you’re not using natural means, be prepared for a miracle or perhaps for judgment!

6 thoughts on “Faith and Testing God”

  1. I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately…..many people I know at church, etc. say that every little detail was carefully planned out by God, and use Romans 8:28 etc. as back-up. I’m not entirely sure what I believe to be honest…but I’m not sure God works ‘physically’ to that extent today. Still studying =) where do you back up your beliefs Scripturally?? Are they taking Rom 8:28 completely out of context?

  2. Stephen, yup, add that too. It would be divine intervention if you used a waffle to hit the homerun, but not a bat, that’s what bats are for!

  3. Beth,
    You’re running into Calvinism, which aint all bad, but often over-simplifies the Scriptures. All things do work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose, and one of His purposes is earthly suffering (1 Peter 1:21)!

    At the same time, God’s will is not always done on earth–see the Lord’s prayer where Jesus says to ask for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, which is implying it’s not being done on earth. Our decisions to sin are not God’s fault. It is not His will that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), yet people do perish.

    Yet all these things are part of God’s sovereignty and should be responded to out of faithful humility.

    God is involved with His physical creation and is working things to His plan, but mostly, as I see in Scripture, it’s through common means rather than divine intervention. Even in the OT, miracles are pretty scarce when you consider that the OT covers 3,000-4,000 years!

    Miracles can happen, but when they do you know it. They are not explained by physical means, there is no mistaking them when they occur. We live in a fallen world that is crummy, we are born to trouble, then one day we die. Through good and bad our eyes are directed to Christ so by faith we overcome the world and enter Rest. We don’t rest until we’re out of here.. Until then, let the tribulations work patience, experience and hope.

  4. It’s not wrong to thank God for all the little things, even the things He gives to everyone freely, because it encourages us to remember Him. But it’s wrong to stop there.

    The outward blessings, such as miraculous preservation from danger, healing, help in daily planning, providing of food and clothing, and so forth, are all available under Old Covenant faith. This is what Israel had in the wilderness.

    New Covenant faith reaches deeper than that…

    Were you healed from a sickness by the use of doctors and treatments? You can thank God, but don’t stop there…investigate your heart and life to see if there was some bad habit, unhealthy practice, unneeded stress, or secret sin, that led to the sickness.

    Did God help you sell your house? Thank Him, but don’t stop there: maybe your house was bigger than necessary? Maybe you were trying to build your security on earth? Maybe the taking care of a nice house and yard consumed the time that you should have spent searching the Bible?

    New Covenant faith will ask those kinds of questions, and come away with the miracle of cleansing and forgiveness of sin, which cannot be attained any other way than by Divine power.

  5. (KJV) Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.

    If we believe the Bible at all we must believe that God is still working in our lives. He may do the miraculous or He may work through “natural means” but He is working.
    According to the verse above He is working for our good.
    We know this can not mean for our physical good all the time because Christians some times get sick and die.
    We know this can not mean for our emotional good all the time because Christians some times struggle with emotions, stress and nerves.
    We know this can not mean for our financial good all the time because Christians some times lose their jobs and struggle through terrific financial hardships.
    What does it mean then? If things are not good at all and they are getting worse is this verse true? Of course it is but you have to read the next verse.

    29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    The good He’s talking about working in our lives is trying to conform us to the image of His Son. God is using the natural ups and downs, troubles and trials of life to make us more like Christ. He is working things for our SPIRITUAL GOOD.

    I certainly need and desire to be Christlike in my life. God is using life to do it.


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