We had a big discussion last night at one of the groups we attend. The lesson was "Why Does God Allow Bad Things To Happen?" The scripture in Romans 8:28 came up. Does God make good come out of bad all the time? Or do we have the choice to make good come from something bad that happens? One of the men said God is always the same. He doesn't do anything to cause it or make good out of bad. Others thought God does have a hand in our lives, but doesn't make bad happen to us. Bad things just happen and we don't understand why. On our end all we can do is trust Him to get us through bad things. That's the part that's good--learning to trust Him more every day.
I don't think we'll ever understand God while we're in this realm. We might be able to when we're living in eternity with Him, but I'm not even sure about that. This morning I read John Rosemond's column about "Kids' opinions matter not in their rearing." As usual he's right on. He says that it is the right of our children to be governed well, just as it is the right of a populace to be governed well. Children lack good sense and have no concept about what is ahead of them, so they can't be allowed to make choices about their preferences if those preferences are bad for them. They'll reject what is good every time. They'd rather eat ice cream than salad or play video games rather than do chores. It's up to the parents (and teachers) to provide the restraint and direction that they can't provide for themselves.
"Proper restraint and proper direction are essential to turning the antisocial toddler into a disciple who will trust and look up to his or her parents, follow their lead and subscribe to their values." I heard someone say recently that we are turning out high school and college students who have no moral compass. It's pretty obvious that's because of the faulty child-rearing techniques of the past 20 years.
One part of Rosemond's column I love is this: "Irrespective of IQ, children do not think correctly....Parents think discipline is all about shaping proper behavior by manipulating reward and punishment. That's not discipline; that's behavior modification....and that's how one trains a rat, not a human being."
All this brought me back to our discussion from last night. I don't believe God punishes us for doing something wrong or rewards us for doing something right. That's behavior modification. What God is after is trust--trusting Him all the time. And He's wanting us to obey Him. He doesn't consult us about what we think is the best for us. He sets our standards and asks us to follow them.