Sometimes calamities hit us like a storm and we just cannot put a finger on the reason.

Life is life and unfortunately things do go wrong. Accidents happen, people get sick. Evil occurs, people get hurt. A wrong word spoken in anger, a nasty reaction, a hasty decision and string of unsatisfactory events follow.

Usually we moan when things go wrong, when circumstances turn contentment and joy into bewilderment and a lack of peace. Come on! We do! Admit it! Often it’s ‘Why did this happen to be me?’

And in the main we find someone or something to blame!

But…what if the problem is our fault and we’re not recognising it as such? As often as not people blame God. (Funny how we have this reaction of always wanting to blame someone else!)

But what if God is real and what if he has allowed (note: allowed, not caused) the incident – perhaps something to go amiss – just to get our attention because we haven’t been listening to him or flowing his way (the right way)? Maybe we’ve strayed into unhealthy attitudes, negative thinking and relying on our intellect alone instead of his guidance. Maybe we’re allowing ourselves to separate from friendship with our friends and from seeking a meaningful daily relationship with God and worshipping him.

Perhaps too, we’ve been stepping out of line and drifting from biblical principles of right living, wholesome speech and living as Jesus Christ would. Huh?

Doesn’t mean God doesn’t care or has stopped loving us…when things go wrong and his blessings aren’t quite flowing as they use to. But, like any good parent, he wants us to get back on track.

Consequently, sometimes when things go amiss it’s God using the circumstances to give us a smack on the rump! For, because he loves us, he delights in us putting it right and getting back on track and starting afresh as it were.

God always has an eye on our future and wants to see us living a useful, productive life. Yes, we miss it at times – perhaps many times – but God will give further opportunities.

Jesus emphasised this parental principle in Luke 13: 6-9 where the vineyard carer persuades the boss to give yet another chance to a tree that had been playing up and was out of line with its owner’s wishes.

Those listening to Jesus would have been aware of the eastern ‘recipe’ for curing barren trees. The disappointed owner takes a hatchet and goes with a friend to threaten the tree with being cut down. The friend strongly restrains the owner from doing so – ‘Have patience with it.’ The owner reluctantly agrees but gives the useless tree’s stem three sharp thumps with the back of the axe ‘just to remind it that it’d better shape up’ by the following year!

Could it be that when we get a sudden jolt to the system, it’s God giving us a swift smack on the rear to startle us into getting our priorities right? And all because he cares about our life, happiness and future.

Maybe…just maybe!

Consequently, maybe instead of moaning or blaming someone else we should be asking, ‘What’s really going on here? What’s’ the bigger picture? What is God trying to tell or teach me?’

If what went wrong happened because we were out of line, then we need to repent and ask God to help us afresh. He is the God of fresh starts! And we’re more valuable to him than any tree. We Christians have a secret inner advantage over other people – we have God’s Holy Spirit within to help, restore and get us going again! The other good news is that when we repent and put him first, God can then work good out of our mistakes and calamities.

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