The air conditioner in my office wasn’t working yesterday, so I had to get a fan to keep from sweating. I chuckled when I realized the comedy that a week prior a record-setting winter storm ravaged Texas. As I’ve been thinking about the storm and its impact, I asked myself this question: If what I believe about God is true, God could have prevented this storm. So why didn’t he?
We have to be careful when asking questions like this because, in the micro sense, we have no way of knowing why things happen. For example, this past summer I was set to renovate my kitchen, and as we were gaining momentum to get started, my contractor was hospitalized with COVID, and when he recovered, he decided to retire. I never renovated the kitchen, and six months later, I am writing this in a new house and am glad we never renovated. Was this the reason he got COVID? It seems like one reason, but it certainly wasn’t the only one. Who knows how many countless situations like this God’s been orchestrating through last week’s storm? It’d be foolish for us to try and understand these specifics. We can, however, speculate on the macro aspect of things.
I previously wrote about how sin is treason against God, and in a later post, I wrote that there are two problems stemming from our sin. The first problem is that we need to pay the penalty for our treason. The second problem is that we are predisposed to continue to commit treason.
Romans 7 is about this second problem, and towards the end of the chapter, Paul says this:
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” Romans 7: 18-20
It’s important to note that Paul is writing this is after chapter 5 where he declared we have peace with God because we have been justified by faith in Jesus. So Paul is writing this as a man who’s already been forgiven of his treason against God, and yet he is still struggling with the issue of his sin and flesh.
This is a problem. A few weeks ago, I wrote that something fundamental needs to change within us for Heaven to be possible, and this issue of sin and our flesh is what needs to be transformed. Listen to what Paul says a few paragraphs later in chapter 8 (emphasis added).
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8: 12-13
How does this happen? How do we put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit? Maybe the answer is the same as to why God didn’t prevent last week’s storm.