The Seduction of “Everything’s All Right”

“…And they all lived happily ever after.” We’ve all heard that line since we were knee-high to a duck. As we grow older, wiser and perhaps a bit more jaded we come to understand that life is seldom such a fairy tale existence. While some may take comfort in such a Pollyannaish approach to life the truth is that God chastised Jerusalem’s priests and prophets who persuaded the people, “everything’s all right”. Jeremiah prophesied, “For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 6:13-15). Instead of rooting out evil and requiring repentance they prescribed a placebo. The people had a compound fracture and the spiritual “doctors” as they were, put a bandage on the hurt, kissed it and “made it all better.” Superficial healing says everything’s all right when much is all wrong. Superficial healing says, “Go back to business as usual” when God or life or God through life have issued a wake-up call to repent from “business as usual”.
I won’t pretend for a moment to know what God is or is not doing in the affairs of men and women and nations and kingdoms. Such speculation is folly. But I do know that Scripture teaches the importance of learning eternal lessons from temporal tragedies, setbacks and sins be they isolated or nationwide. James writes, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:2-8). I do know that Scripture teaches that we are more receptive to wisdom in times of mourning than in times of giddiness. Solomon writes, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth” (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4).
Does God want us to enjoy life? I’m persuaded he does. The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul” (3 John 2). But he clearly wants us to see this life as a precursor and preparer to the next, not as a stand-alone free-for-all party where everyone does what is right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25; Hebrews 9:27). Only through Jesus Christ can we be fitted for eternity. But fitted or not that’s where we’re headed. And for those who don’t trust and obey him, it will be anything but “all right.”
Brad Fry

Published in: on May 30, 2012 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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