Can God receive glory through a tragedy?

03 Oct

Cat & Dog TheologyYesterday, I finished reading Cat & Dog Theology: Rethinking our relationship with our master; Living passionately for the glory of God, by Bob Sjogren & Gerald Robison. Gerald is a fellow instructor with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries.

The premise of the book comes from observing how cats and dogs go through life and relate to their humans. Dogs say, “You love me, you feed me, you play with me, you care for me, you must be god.” Cats say, “You love me, you feed me, you play with me, you care for me, I must be god.” (Living with a cat, I agree with the author’s analysis!)

As the authors explain, churches are filled with cats who think everything is about them. The church exists to meet my needs. If I’m not fed, I can go elsewhere. Worship should play my favorite songs. Programs should make me comfortable. I go to church to connect with my friends.

Regarding the issue of suffering, Bob & Gerald explain that when a cat is diagnosed with an illness, they respond, “What did I do to deserve this?” A dog responds like Job, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

The authors stress that we should approach God more as a dog would. Worship is about declaring God’s glory. I should seek to serve and minister to others. God may bring events into my life that will stretch me and make me uncomfortable if they will ultimately bring him greater glory and honor.

On Thursday, we were horrified by the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR. Many voiced the questions, “Why would God allow such a tragedy?” “If God really cared, why does he allow suffering and pain?” Without sounding overly simplistic and pious, might God allow a tragedy of this nature to turn the conversation of the nation towards faith? Could God permit a horrific event to provide an example of Christians who stood up for their faith and were martyred as a result? Might God allow something like this to drive Christians to their knees to pray despite the President saying prayers are not enough?

As Christ followers, we should approach God more like a dog than a cat. Rather than pursue our comfort, we should focus on God’s glory. As the book of Job testifies, God can be glorified through tragedy and suffering. We may never completely understand the reasons, but God has the right to do whatever it takes to bring glory to his name.


Posted by on October 3, 2015 in Books, Scripture, Theology


5 responses to “Can God receive glory through a tragedy?

  1. Steven Hoyt

    October 3, 2015 at 11:09 am

    i’m no dog and god is no master. as “christian followers”, we ought to participate with a god who is moral and then in likeness, realize society is based on equality of some measure. if the equality exists, then it is clear that the master/servant paradigm should have died the moment we realized such governance is not optimal and we should have immediately seen christ had none of it.

    if we cannot see as ” christian followers ” that the good is what we are drawn to and our participation in it is participation with god, then no pedantry of master/servant language will do anything more than craft very similar questions like “can god receive glory through tragedy?” as if god is the sort of “thing” which must “receive” anything at all rather than is the thing itself; glorious! how many times do the prophets in the OT have to tell “followers” that sort of thing repulses god, and for the “christian follower”, how many times did christ himself say the same; and few have listened. “these things disgust me…do what you already know to do; care for the widow, the orphan, the sick, the poor”.

    the question is poor and the answer, predictable platitude. the only question that matters in tragedy is whether or not god also participates in your suffering. to suggest in tragedy yet one more thing is owed of you is glorifying god, it’s to suggest god is a sort of callous monster and the person suggesting it, likely to never have genuinely suffered at all.

  2. Steven Hoyt

    October 3, 2015 at 11:18 am

    “god has the right to do whatever he will to bring himself glory”?!!!

    are you freaking kidding me! crack an ethics book sometime! might does not make right! “oh, but he’s god!” well, who cares or should! your interpretation of what god is, wants, and does, and why is very much equal to a young child. god may at some point ask you to grow up, and at that point, he may himself stop thinking “isn’t that cute” because it is a damaging view of god, of self, and of others.

    • wheelsms

      October 3, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Wow! You certainly seem to have a lot of anger towards God. I’m sorry for whatever you have experienced that left you with such strong feelings against him.

      • Steven Hoyt

        October 3, 2015 at 3:08 pm

        i don’t. i have many feelings towards poor images of him however.

      • wheelsms

        October 3, 2015 at 3:17 pm

        Thanks for your comment. We certainly have a difference of opinion on this subject.


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