Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
James 1:17
One of the many things I have come to believe in my life is that if something is not good, it is not from God. If something is not good, there is a human or earthly cause behind it, not a heavenly one. For instance, if I stay up too late or don’t drink enough water and end up with a headache, that’s a bad thing, but it’s not God’s fault. If I drive too fast and crash my car, that’s bad, but the fault lies with me. If someone else drives too fast and hits my car, the cause is the other driver. And so on. 
How about when something bad happens and there isn’t a human being to blame? How about a natural disaster? What about when a child does from an undetected illness? Well, my answer to these questions, and what I’ve come to believe in my own life is that we all are equal sharers of an imperfect nature. We breathe imperfect air, we drink imperfect water, we eat impure food. This causes imperfect gene pools which afflict us with diseases that even the healthiest and most saintly people are not immune to. Our broken world sometimes produces too much rain (floods) or too much wind (hurricanes), or not enough rain (droughts) or moves (earthquakes, volcanos). These disasters are not “natural.” God didn’t create them. They are certain not “acts of God” as my homeowners insurance describes them. Rather, they are the result of a fallen world. 
I’ve used this analogy before on the prayer team, but it bears repeating. Imagine if a group of us are sitting in a room breathing perfect air and having perfect conversation. Then someone comes in and sprays the room with a large amount of aerosol. The people didn’t change. But the air changed. And everyone breathing the air now suffers a consequence. One person gets a headache, another gets a runny nose, another starts coughing. All suffer some consequence. All share equally in the imperfect nature. There is no getting around that in our world. 
However, I’m reminded of the story of the blind man who was healed in John 9. Jesus encounters a man born blind from birth.  “And His Disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.’” (John 9: 2-3) The Disciples had the still-popular idea that if something bad happens, it must be because one has lost the favor of God. This is not true. As I said, sometimes bad things happen because of our own actions or inactions or because of the actions of others. And other times they happen because we are equal sharers of an imperfect nature.
God is in everything that is good. This is what today’s verse says. When something bad happens, it is possible for good even to some out of bad. Hence, Jesus says “It was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.”  Jesus found an opportunity to bring something good out of something bad. Inevitably, when something bad happens, something good comes out of it. It might even be a huge bad thing that happens with a small good thing that follows. However, God is always in the good. Only good comes from God. And if it’s not good, it is not from God. God may allow something to happen that is bad, because He doesn’t stop free will. But He is there always to bring something good even in the midst of something bad. 
If it’s not good, it’s not from God. So, we shouldn’t blame God for the bad, but in the bad moments, we should lean on Him even more, praying for His goodness to shine through even in bad times. 
Lord, bless those who praise You and sanctify those who put their trust in You. Save Your people and bless Your inheritance. Protect the whole body of Your Church. Sanctify those who love the beauty of Your house. Glorify them in return by Your divine power and do not forsake us who place our hope in You. Grant peace to Your world, to Your church, to the clergy, to our civil authorities and to all of Your people For every good and perfect gift is from Above, coming down from You the Father of Lights and to You we give glory, thanksgiving and worship, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Let God shine through in both your good moments and your tough ones today!


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced multiple books, you can view here: https://amzn.to/3nVPY5M


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