Who Caused My Addiction?
And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. Genesis 41:32
In the struggle of my addiction, I once blamed God. Now, in recovery, I’ve had to accept my responsibility for my disaster and I’m far less quick to lay the fault at God’s feet. If you’ve spent any time reading my blog, you know that I continually point out that the only control I have is over my own choices and that my future is directed by those choices. When I really think about it though, I can see God’s hand moving even back then, directing my life where he wanted it to go. It’s not a question for which I desperately need an answer, but it’s important for my faith and understanding of God to at least ask the question – Did God cause my addiction?
We are often quick to either blame God – He did this to me! – or to vindicate him – God didn’t do this. You did! I’m not sure it’s that simple or that either viewpoint is terribly comforting. Looking at my addiction from my wife’s perspective, I can see that if she blamed God completely for my addiction, then faith in him might be a little scary – Do I believe in a God who just does awful things to us? But to believe in a universe where bad things simply happen beyond the control by God is also terrifying – I can’t count on God for any protection from evil.
Today’s passage provides some insight into this question. In it, Joseph was asked to interpret Pharaoh’s two dreams. Inspired by God, Joseph translated the dreams, foretelling the course of the next 14 years of Egypt. The first seven years were to be years of bounty, followed by seven years of famine. Joseph then proclaimed that the coming years, good and bad, were established by God and that he would bring them to pass. The passage makes it clear. God caused this. Tough times were coming, and God’s hand was in it, because he had a plan to use the misery for good.
This is hard for us. We don’t want to believe in a God who allows or causes trials and suffering. The reality though is that bad things do happen and we don’t want to live in a world where those bad things exist beyond God’s control.
So, the question stands. Did God cause my addiction so that he could one day use it for his purpose? Or was I simply responsible for my own terrible choices? Is God the author of our trials and suffering? Or does he just allow bad things to happen in our lives? That’s the question, and it’s one I’ll let sit for a day and address tomorrow.