Why did God do this to me?

Here’s a question from a reader – an accountant.  (We’ll call her Angela)

“I’m at a job that I hate mainly because I feel like every day I’m set up to fail. There’s no job satisfaction. I go to work and try my best but the bosses and organization demand excellence in everything that we do. That is a good goal to have but there’s no way to accomplish all that needs to be and do it perfectly. ………So why would God place me in a situation like that for 8yrs??”  Portrait of a girl praying

Angela, be very careful about asking “why God put you in this place?” I certainly believe God is omnipotent – but I don’t think He micromanages the little details in our lives. I think our own decisions lead us to where we are. But that’s hopeful, because you can make new decisions that put you in a different place. Don’t wait for supernatural movement — just start by seeing what you can do to move yourself in a new direction in the next 30-60 days.

When I found myself at the negative end of a business deal a few years ago with $430,000 owed to creditors I’m sure I could have asked, “Why did God do this to me?”  But instead, the next morning I looked at the guy in the mirror.  And I asked myself about the series of decisions I had made that put me in that position.  In reading Proverbs each day I was amazed to see the biblical principles I had violated in getting me to that unfortunate crisis.  God had not done that to me.  I simply made decisions that resulted in that end result.  And I very quickly made decisions to walk out of that horrible experience. 

Sometimes we assume that our current situation reflects random, individual, disconnected events – or God maliciously making our life miserable.  But none of those are likely true.  Rather, we are where we are because each decision we make is a step in a particular direction.  And over time that direction determines our position in our work, our finances, our health, our relationships and our spiritual well-being.  If you think God did this to you, then it justifies doing nothing until God changes your situation.  And in doing nothing I see people open the door to blaming, resentment, anger, guilt and depression.  I think God deserves better from us.

Sometimes we can simply reframe how we talk about what we are doing.  Instead of saying “I have to go to work today,” try saying “I get to go to my job today where I see people I believe in and where I get a paycheck that provides for the needs of my family.  I choose to do my job with excellence and to elevate the quality of what my team is doing.”

You can look back and see how the decisions you’ve made have gotten you to where you are.  If you don’t like the direction those are taking you, make some new choices to put yourself on a different path?  Don’t continue in misery and blame God for putting you there.  It’s an unrealistic and unhelpful attempt to shift responsibility. 

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