Perhaps your career was always a bit of a grind, but then you lost your job and now your finances are even worse. Perhaps you were generally out of shape physically, but then you got really sick. Or perhaps your mental health was always a bit rocky, but then recently you had a full mental health breakdown.
Why would God allow things like this to happen to us? Here are 3 possible reasons.
1. God Allows Full-Blown Breakdowns So We Can Address the One Root Cause Behind Many Smaller, Daily Issues
A few years ago my family and I bought a truck and a camper so we could have some adventures together. The truck towed the camper pretty well, but when going down hills, the engine would start revving super high. It sounded like it was going to explode, but then it would shift gears and quickly stop. Last week, I turned the truck on and the whole engine was violently shaking and barely running. It sounded really bad. Thankfully the mechanic found the issue – a small sensor that cost $90. And not only was the engine no longer shaking, but now when I’m towing the camper and going down a hill, it doesn’t rev super high either.
My point? The full-blown breakdown my truck experienced actually ended up causing the smaller issues it was having to get fixed too. This is a great analogy for life.
So many times we just end up settling for small dysfunctions. Therefore, God will sometimes let a major breakdown occur in our lives that will help us identify the root problem that is actually causing many other smaller issues too. For example:
- Perhaps you finally have a full-blown breakdown with your mom, but then once you say what you need to say and you forgive each other, through this you realize your heart is healthier now and you then start relating better to everyone, not just your mom.
- Perhaps you have a mental breakdown which then causes you to get help. Once you start improving, you then realize how much this issue had been affecting your daily life that you didn’t even notice until you had the full breakdown and started to get better.
- Or perhaps you committed a sexual sin with someone that you felt you would never do. But the Holy Spirit uses this to convict you and change you, and then you even repent of the daily lusting you use to do in your mind.
As Galatians 5:9 states, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”
2. God Let’s Breakdowns Occur So His Children Will Come Even Closer to Him
Perhaps the most overlooked detail in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son is the fact that the father willingly gave the son his inheritance early even though he didn’t have to (Luke 15:11-13). The son could not have run away without the early inheritance. Why would the father do this?
I believe Jesus told this parable to make the point that God often lets his children run away so that they will actually come closer to him. Remember, there was a second son in this parable who never did run away. But it seems, in the end, the second son’s heart was more distant than the prodigal son’s heart after he returned (Luke 15:25-32).
Rather than enslave us and force us to be mindless robots unable to choose to love our Heavenly Father, God lets us run away when we want to and hurt ourselves so that we will choose to return to his loving embrace. Sometimes we are blind to God’s love until we feel the hatred in the world.
When addressing a man who was not willing to repent of his sexual sins, Paul says to the church in 1 Corinthians 5:5, “ . . . you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”
If you are rebelling against God, he will let you break yourself down so that you will come to your senses and return fully to him. God would rather you run to the distant country and return to his embrace than die outside of his embrace just one room away.
In love, he lets us run when we need to be rebuked by the harshness of the world so our eyes can be open to the tenderness of our God. As Isaiah 26:10 states, “If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness . . .”
3. God Allows Breakdowns Because He Loves Us Too Much to Let Us Remain Immature
Spiritual growth occurs just like physical growth. For muscles to grow, they need to be stressed and broken down, and then when given proper rest and nutrients, they grow back even stronger.
Likewise, God allows his children to get broken down so that he can remake them even stronger (Ephesians 4:13-16). As Hebrews 12:11 states, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”