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CLARITY – 5-22-20 Above Our Pay Grade


A Biblical Response to Current Events – 5-22-20

Above Our Pay Grade

What’s Happening: “Some eyewitnesses earlier Friday (today) say the Airbus from Lahore (Pakistan) to Karachi made as many as three landing attempts before crashing into a crowded neighborhood near the airport killing at least 104 of the 107 aboard and some of the neighborhood’s residents (it is too recent for reports to be accurate). The jet was trying to land with only one engine functioning properly and flames could be seen coming from it. Although the pilot called ‘Mayday,’ only the tower was warned of impending disaster as the residents of the populous area had no idea what was about to happen ( ‘We are proceeding direct, sir — we have lost engine,’ a pilot said.

‘Confirm your attempt on belly,’ the air traffic controller said, offering a runway.                      ‘Sir – mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303,’ the pilot said before the transmission ended.”

Knee-Jerk Response:  “What a tragedy!! Why would a good God allow it?!”

Biblical Response:  “Why these 104 (+ residents)? Why today? Why this plane? The questions are endless. I have a friend who just lost a lower extremity to diabetes (his left leg below the knee was amputated). Why him? He is missing the Bible study he was leading while he’s recovering…he’s an elder in our church, for crying out loud! (He and his wife have been enduring all this with a stiff upper lip…but they have to be hurting inside.) Why?!”

“All I can say is: it is above our pay grade. There are things He reveals…and things He doesn’t (Deut. 29:29). The what and when of His purpose are a mystery to me…and He obviously prefers that. He is God…not me. Are there reasons bad things happen?”

“Yep. Keep reading:

Why “Bad” Things Happen

Why ‘Bad’ Things Happen – This is an age-old question and I don’t presume to know the reasons behind all of God’s mysterious purposes, but I have observed that most things we designate as “bad” can usually be grouped into one or more of four categories. Let me explain:

  1. We live in a fallen world.

When Eve ‘fell’ from her position of grace in God’s creation, listened to the lies of Lucifer (though her husband, who was with her, was curiously silent – read Gen. 3:1-13), and ate of the forbidden fruit, she loosed many unintended consequences which only began with the curses God levied (Gen. 3:14-19).

Much that we consider “bad” are just the consequences of that original disobedience.

      2.   We sometimes make stupid decisions.

Although students of the Creator have full access to the instruction manual (the Bible), they are enticed by their own greed (or some other lust distracts them) and they pursue an unwise course…and reap the rewards of their foolishness (Gal. 6:7).

      3.  We are the collateral damage of others’ stupidity.

Sometimes other people make unwise decisions and our suffering is the natural outcome of simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

        4.  God is trying to tell us something.

Sure, He could speak in an audible voice (and sometimes does), but that is what the Holy Spirit is for. We didn’t hear Him, so He resorts to speaking to us through our circumstances.  (See Ps. 86:11-12).

Sometimes our consequences seem just, sometimes not, but we often find that our judgement in such matters is a bit biased…maybe that is why He had to resort to circumstances – we wouldn’t listen to anything else.

        5.  A combination of the above.

Often, we experience a combination of (or all) the causes of “Bad” Things.

From our limited perspective (temporal), we can’t see all the subsequent interventions God has planned in His perspective (eternal). Hence, we do not understand (or even conceive of) how what the enemy meant for our destruction is really being used by God for our ultimate blessing (Gen. 50:20). 

Time would fail me to speak of Ruth, Esther, Joseph, Jonah, Job and others who have all experienced “bad” things happening to them. Besides John Piper has done it so much better (

All this is not to say that God is capricious. He is not. He is always good (and not by just allowing the ‘bad’…as in Job). No, all things He does are good. Maybe not in our temporal perception, but in His eternal one. Hence: Rom. 8:28, and my use of the quotation marks in “Bad”.

Pity, all judgements are made from the deception of a still photograph of a moment in time…God’s judgements come from a four-dimensional video.

“Christians? We believe in a sovereign God…He can allow or do what He wants. We may (and often do not) understand what He’s doing. It’s like Isaiah 5:8-9 says: 

This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours.’ (LB)”

Here’s a Prayer You Can Pray:  “Heavenly Father, help us to fit into Your plan and receive the comfort of Your Holy Spirit, as it is appropriate; in Jesus’ Name, amen.”

Share as you like, just give credit appropriately. For buying any of Alan E. Sargent’s books or to subscribe or to comment on any of his CLARITY blogs, go to the following link:’ If he’s not in Twitter/Facebook/Email jail, he also tweets/posts.

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