“If your God exists, He is a mean SOB!” It wasn’t really a question, so I acknowledged my friend’s pain, and did not respond immediately.
After I got back to my computer, I began searching for that phase on-line. I went to a list of championship coaches, and began to search for similar phrases. Paul “Bear” Bryant, Vince Lombardi, Jerry Claiborne, Red Auerbach, Bill Russell, and most great coaches I looked up had similar statements made about them. Most of them stood for much higher principles. Vince Lombardi often said, “Love is more powerful than hate.” The SOB comments did not come from the players that were trained under them, but by outsiders looking in. These coaches were about the work of pushing their players beyond what they were capable of. They pushed them harder, expected more from them, and achieved greater goals than anyone else would have. They earned great respect from the players that grew under them.
God is about His purpose of shaping men into His image, a pretty high goal. He does not just allow crap to happen; sometimes he brings it. He placed man in the garden in the context of his sin (Gen 2:8-9). He told Satan to consider Job (Job 1:8). He tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Gen 22). He gave corroboration of false prophets to test Israel (Deut 13:3). His Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tested (Mark 1:12). Those same temptations were reiterated as Jesus hung on the cross. Jesus spoke of the “time of testing (Luke 8:13).”
The question each person must answer is how to respond to it. To “take up their cross and follow (Mark 8:34)” is to meet the challenge as an athlete and run the race marked out for them (Heb 12:1).
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
Perhaps this world is exactly what it needs to be. God has a plan and a purpose. He has good company as a “mean SOB” also.