Did God Make Me Use Drugs?
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good . . . Genesis 50:20
Did I choose to be a Christian, or did God choose me? Is God in control or do I have free will? When I become a Christian, do I have a new life, or do I still struggle with the old? Did God cause me to use drugs or did I make my own choices? Are these mutually exclusive ideas? Must I pick one truth or the other?
I’m not sure if you ask yourself these questions, but addicts do, often. Faced with metaphysical and existential disasters, we need to figure these things out. Are we responsible for our own recovery, or do we just sit back and rely on God because He is in complete control?
I find significant comfort in today’s passage when I wrestle with such questions. In it, Joseph spoke two truths (which seem in opposition to me) in the same sentence. When addressing the evil that his brothers had done to him (selling him into slavery), Joseph acknowledged that his brothers acted out of their own evil motives, but that God was also working out His plan. God chose to use their evil choice to put Joseph precisely where He wanted him.
I want to know if God is in control or if the brothers made their own choice. This passage says, yes. The two truths stand, not in exclusion to each other, but complementary to each other. I do not understand, but somehow, God was in control and the brothers made their choice.
While it is comforting for me to believe that God is in control, it is a painful to accept as well, because this means that somehow, God is behind everything that happens. It is far easier to give credit to God for all the good things and blame man or devil for all the bad. In my need to make it all make sense, I want to explain some truths away.
Most attempts to explain God’s sovereignty and man’s free will err because we have difficulty holding two truths at once. We embrace His control, explaining away man’s ability to choose, or we embrace man’s free will, diminishing God’s sovereignty. The truth presented in the Bible though, is that God is in control of it all, while somehow allowing man to make his own choices.
What this means for us, is that God is worth putting our faith in, as He holds the universe in His hands. This does not mean though, that we are not responsible for our own thoughts and actions. As He is the only one who is all-powerful and all-knowing, we have the responsibility to daily, do what it takes to deny ourselves and follow Him above all.