Sunday Extra | Stop putting the blame on God

Sunday Extra | Stop putting the blame on God

By RICHARD McGUIRE

In at least two recent accidental deaths reported in News-Gazette articles, interviewees have been quoted as saying the deaths were "a part of God's plan we don't understand."

Such statements compel me to share a different way to view such tragedies reflecting on the nature of God. The well-intended but question-raising statement "God has a plan" implicates God in a negative light in instances of tragic events that we ourselves wouldn't wish to happen to us or to others.

There are multitudes of religious persons who are not in agreement with such well-intended statements — presumably meant to be comforting — that reflect questionably on the nature of God.

We feel it is intellectually wrong to try to explain each misfortune that comes our way, such as death, birth defects, etc., by saying it must be "in God's plan." Instead, we would say that tragic deaths and other misfortunes come our way simply because such things can happen in the universe in which we live. Life has no guarantee of happy endings. Rationalizing such occurrences as "a part of God's plan" points the finger at God as the cause of such tragedies.

Several years ago, the distinguished clergyman, author and Biblical scholar J.B. Phillips wrote a popular book titled "Your God is Too Small." For many of us, our God is way too big to be thought of as being involved in such things as auto accidents, life-altering illnesses, marriage breakups, etc.

We do not hold God responsible for the tragic, painful events that come our way such as is inferred by the statement "God has a plan." Rather, we respond and move on from those kind of regrettable events, knowing that the love of God strengthens and supports us in our life journey no matter come what may.

It is my hope and prayer that families victimized by hurtful and tragic events will experience God's presence in this more positive way.

The Rev. Richard McGuire lives in Urbana.