Guy N. Woods
A brokenhearted man, overwhelmed by grief, weeps, uncontrollably over the casket containing the remains of his beloved wife. Well-meaning, but pitifully misguided friends gather about him, and in an effort to soften the blow which brought the world crashing down upon his shoulders, inform him that his immeasurable loss should be attributed to the will of God. A mother grieves beside the pale and lifeless body of her only child and the preacher seeks to comfort her by saying that the child’s tragic death was the result of the will of God, to which she should now resign herself. Disaster strikes with the suddenness of the lightning’s flash, fortunes are swept away as with a flood, poverty stalks menacingly among innocent and helpless children, and the whole of it is attributed to the providence of God.
How Satan must grin with sardonic glee when such accusations are leveled against the Judge of all the earth. How pleased he must be to hear the character of the great Jehovah slandered, His motives impeached, and His will prostituted by those who affect to be His friends! With what great satisfaction must he contemplate the ever-increasing number of unbelievers which such reasoning produces. And, how comfortable it is for the casual observer of such instances to blame God for what he cannot, or will not, explain in any other way.
The disposition to let God bear the blame is a common one and it finds expression in many ways. Wars, famine, pestilence, and death are regularly laid at His feet. When the heavens withhold the rain and the earth becomes dust, when crops fail and cattle die, men read in the disasters the will of God. Even the law of the land takes cognizance of the disposition of men to blame God by identifying such tragedies as “acts of God.” Casualty insurance policies expressly state or imply exceptions of responsibility when an “act of God” is involved. Among the contingencies often thus classified are tornadoes, storms at sea, earthquakes, and the like. Many contracts provide that in the event of an “act of God” the contract is unenforceable. An instance of man’s proneness to let God take the blame is illustrated in a mine disaster some years ago, in the resolution of which it was officially declared that God was to blame! An editorial in an Eastern newspaper offered these comments:
Once again God must take the rap. In the aftermath of the ___ mine disaster a jury has solemnly assembled, meditated, contemplated, and brought in its unanimous verdict. God has been convicted. According to the jury the murder of one hundred nineteen coal miners must go down in history as an act of God.
A columnist in the same paper observed that no one—government, coal operators, mine workers, or union officials—seemed prepared to look for any other culprit. Said he,
It was easy to blame God. After all, he could not talk back. More reverent men might have hesitated to reach this verdict. They might have considered the guilt of the congressman who stubbornly refused to enact a mine safety law. They might have weighed the responsibility of the coal operators who often resist safety mine legislation. They might even have studied the role of UMW officials who might seem more concerned with union politics than with human safety. But all that would have involved many complicated problems. It was so much easier to blame God.
So much easier to blame God! Let all of us ponder these words more seriously when next we are disposed to excuse our own neglect, and to ignore immediate causes by blandly suggesting that the responsibility of all such matters must be assigned to God.