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ramblings of an unknown psychiatrist

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Processes, Outcomes and God

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on March 15, 2010

I heard a person share about how importance of persistence in prayer. He shared a testimony with great enthusiasm. He spoke of a Christian family. Their marriage was arranged. They were from a different religious background. Before they got married, they had been praying to get married to a person with their new faith. They could not tell this to their families for some reason, but they were persistent in their prayer. After marriage, when it was time to consummate, one of them wanted some time for prayer. The other got excited on hearing that. Lo behold! They realized that they both had Christian faith and that God had miraculously united them. Wow! That was a great story. I smiled but something was sticking out like a sore thumb in my mind. It required deeper thought.

Firstly, can we thank God in a situation like this? Of course one could. It makes sense to thank God for any positive outcome for which no wrongful means was used. (Obviously one cannot thank God for the driving licence if a bribe was paid in the transport office.) It requires greater faith to thank God for bad outcomes like being diagnosed of a bad disease, death of a loved one etc. Putting the thanking God aspect aside, let us examine the case described. We have educated persons who profess to have strong convictions. They do not tell that publicly. They are afraid of the consequences. So, they prayed regularly for a miracle! They go through a wedding with all its rituals in a manner that may not be acceptable to them personally, but privately want to pray just before consummating a marriage!

 So, what is the big deal? What is wrong with that? Why can’t it be God’s way of doing things? Is it not amazing to see such a coincidence? Let us consider a girl of similar profile, similar faith, who prayed similar prayers, who obeyed parents similarly but had a different marital experience with a violent, debauched alcoholic husband. What would people say? They would say that this happened because she did not ‘take a stand’. They would say that God is punishing her for her sin of disobeying God in being unequally yoked.

Let us take the case of another girl, who told her family exactly what her convictions were about whom to marry. Her parents do not get a proper match as they do not have many contacts in a faith community from their own. Assume this lady remained single and has a tough life in her fifties. What would people say? They would say that God plans singleness for few and would give them His grace for handling loneliness. The worse among the lot would say, ‘She was too choosy. God does not help choosy people.’

What does this leave us with? It looks like we reason things about life from the outcomes and not through the processes. In the first case, it was absolutely irrational for educated people to engage in marriage without discussing faith issues especially if faith was an important issue to them. But we would praise God as somehow it worked out well. In the second case the process adopted was similar to first case, but the outcome was bad. We are quick to pick the mistake of one responsible- namely the suffering individual. In our objectivity we highlight reasons and forget to give needed support. In the third case, the process probably was right but outcome was not desirable. We conveniently put the responsibility on God himself!


(From the perspective of sufferers) Do whatever you want. If it works out, say ‘Praise God’. People will resonate with you. If it does not work out, repent if you were wrong. God will forgive you, don’t worry. If you were right, it is indeed painful. Cry out to God. God comforts us too. Just one thing-don’t bother about what people say. They either don’t know stuff or they don’t care. This is not a view I personally would endorse but I see it in practice, quite successfully.

(From perspective of ‘others’) Don’t judge people with what happens to them. It is hardly any evidence for what they are and what they deserve. Don’t judge God based on what his people say. We thank him and blame him indiscriminately.


5 Responses to “Processes, Outcomes and God”

  1. RPR said

    Good post buddy.

    Divine Providence cannot be directly apprehended by simple reference to events in one’s life. While outcomes may be fore-ordained, I believe that it is – in principle – not really possible for us to understand the way in which events all work together. And an apparent short-term good (or evil) could turn out to be something entirely different later on. God’s ultimate purposes may extend far beyond our lives, both in space and in time…

    I’ll stop here, or we could go on discussing the topic endlessly. 🙂

  2. arun said

    I liked that statement: “we reason things about life from the outcomes and not through the processes”
    One of the marks of maturity is ones ability to exercise faith through the process, more precisely, to choose a defenite path based on what is true irrespective of the outcome. More we know Christ our means get refined. We get strengthened to choose a path that is not my own but of Christ and the boldness to face all that come along because of those choices which spring out of deep conviction of truth. And as we train ourselves in Godliness it is important to make sure that we dont compromise on the means for the sake of the end.
    God bless!

  3. Ronald said

    Do whatever you want – This could means lawlessness. The truth is we have guidance through the word for everything in life. if things are done out of this – the consequences remain. However God, being a God of mercy is able to change bad into good. Just because the end is good – which was made by the mercy of God – that does not make the process good or acceptable.
    Its like this – somebody murders and goes to jail – in the jail he gets saved – Does that make doing murder a good thing ?

    Don’t judge people with what happens to them.

    I would say – or rather the Word says – Do not judge at all.Know that God is able to make bad into good. Rather pray.

    wrong process – good outcome – praise God for his mercy -still repent- next time choose right process.
    wrong process – bad outcome – praise God still – repent – choose right process.

    God bless!

    • Dheeraj Kattula said

      Thanks Ron for visiting the blog and bothering to reply.
      You are right. I wish to communicate similar view like you. Please do not take that “Do whatever you want…” statement literarally. I was being sarcastic.
      Anyway Congratulations for being a Consultant Physician in one of the best hospitals in India. Your algorithms have trickled from practice of medicine to practice of life 🙂

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