Blaming God is a common response when life doesn’t go our way. Since God is supposedly in control of everything, the thinking goes, He could have stopped what happened. He could have changed the situation to benefit me; He could have averted the calamity. Since He did not, He is to blame.
In one sense, those statements are true. Isaiah 45:7 seems to validate the idea that God is to blame for everything that happens: “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” And Isaiah 46:9–11: “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. . . . I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ . . . What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.” If God is willing to take responsibility for everything, then is it wrong to blame Him when disaster or heartache strikes us?
The word blame means “to find fault with.” Blaming goes beyond acknowledging God’s sovereignty. Blaming God implies that He messed up, that there is a fault to be found in Him. When we blame God, we make ourselves His judge and jury. But mere human beings have no right to pass judgment on the Almighty. We are His creation; He is not ours: “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? Woe to the one who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’” (Isaiah 45:9–10).
To help avoid blaming God, we must first understand why heartache and pain are a part of our lives. Sin is at the root of every harsh and evil act. God did not design the human body or soul to live in a sinful world. We were created perfectly to dwell in a perfect world (Genesis 1—2). But the sin of Adam brought devastation and disaster into God’s perfect world. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, droughts—ultimately, all natural disasters are here because of sin (Genesis 3:17–19). Our own sinful choices create a ripple effect that echoes throughout our lives. And the sin of others affects us as well. Earthly trouble is a reminder that sin has terrible consequences, so, before we blame God for a crisis, we must examine our own lives and be honest about choices that could have led to it.
Second, we need to examine our own relationship with God. It is puzzling that many people who never give God a thought while doing their own thing become very religious when disaster strikes. They live for themselves 99 percent of the time, as if there were no God. But then tragedy strikes, and suddenly it is God’s fault. Not only is this irrational, but it is insulting to the Creator, who has already given us everything we need to have a relationship with Him.
Of course, having a right relationship with the Lord does not exempt us from suffering terrible heartaches. What do we do when disaster strikes us? Often, Christians are tempted to blame God when the suffering comes. We have a tendency to follow the advice of Job’s wife to her suffering husband: “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9).
Instead of blaming God, Christians can run to Him for comfort (Proverbs 18:10; Psalm 34:18). Christians have a promise that the unbelieving world cannot claim. Romans 8:28 says that “all things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Some quote this verse and stop after the word good, but that is a misuse of Scripture. God placed two qualifiers after this promise that define its limits: the promise is “to those who love God” and to those “called according to His purpose.”
Instead of blaming God, those who love Him can face tragedy with the assurance that nothing can harm them that God did not allow for a good and loving reason. He allows difficult things, even suffering and death, for His own higher purposes. When we desire God’s will for our lives, prioritizing it over our own will, He wastes nothing. No suffering, heartache, loss, or pain is wasted in the lives of God’s own people. He transforms our grief and loss into a platform for future ministry. He uses the difficulties to strengthen us, giving us greater opportunities to store up treasure in heaven than we would have had without the pain (Matthew 6:20). Instead of blaming God, we “give thanks in everything” (Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18).
We acknowledge that God can intervene in any situation; when He does not intervene, and tragedy ensues, we should stop short of blaming Him for wrongdoing. In all that Job suffered, “he did not sin by charging the Lord with wrongdoing” (Job 1:22). Instead of blaming God, who had allowed such overwhelming loss, Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). God honored Job’s response and blessed him mightily after he passed the test. God wants to bless us as well with greater understanding, deeper devotion, and eternal reward that can never be taken away. When we are tempted to blame God, we can choose Job’s response and trust that He knows what He is doing (see Psalm 131).