B: Ancient texts seem to indicate that God doles out both blessings and curses. What in the world are these, anyway? Usually, of course, we want the blessings and not the curses. But why is God giving these out in the first place?
Let’s start with the blessings. Presumably they are given to increase our happiness. So God gives us blessings to help us be happy. But isn’t that what we said He’s trying to do in general anyway, to help us be happy? So shouldn’t everything He is doing be to increase our happiness, i.e., give us blessings?
If blessings are increments in happiness, then are curses decrements? What could possibly be the purpose of a curse, if God’s end goal is to help us be happy? What, then, could those ancient texts mean when they’re talking about curses?!
Folks, everything that God does is ultimately to bless us. Therefore, even “curses,” whatever they are, are for our good. We might think, then, of a curse as being something that we don’t desire and yet is for our good. Like broccoli on a child’s plate. Or any trial that we may face – just about anybody who has learned from periods of severe difficulty knows that in the long run, that trial helped them be happier.
A: But why couldn’t there have been a “blessing” – which I suppose you’ll say is something that we desire and is for our good – that could have helped us be happier?
B: Since God is perfectly loving, He wants the “best” for us, which, recall, is happiness – true happiness. Because God is omniscient, He knows what the best thing is for us at any given time. If the best thing for us at the time is something we want, or a “blessing,” He’ll give it to us. On the other hand, if the best thing for us at that time is something we don’t want – i.e., a “curse” – He’ll give that to us instead, knowing that it is best for us to endure some suffering for a relatively brief time before we reap a much greater happiness later, assuming we respond to the “curse” in a way God intends for us to.
Example. One thing to note about God’s love: as His love is perfect, it is greater even than, say, the love of someone who is desperate for the estranged object of his affection: as such a someone wants his love reciprocated, so God wants His own love to be. But a person in desperate love may try to do anything to get his beloved to love him, so often he tries too hard and ends up making things worse. And why is it that his love is not reciprocated? Myriad reasons, perhaps, but anyway, it gets taken for granted. The beloved becomes spoiled and begins to use him – and often, does not ever love him back. So God, being omniscient and all, doesn’t act as foolishly as the hopeless lover, but instead does not necessarily give us what we want, knowing that if He would all the time, we would become spoiled, and begin to use Him, taking Him for granite, and impeding the growth of our love for Him.
This is one reason God occasionally withholds even good things from us. He wants us to come to Him, and really show ourselves that we do want His blessings. When we come to Him, we begin to understand Him – and loving someone certainly entails the true understanding of that someone. In fact, I would venture to say that truly understanding someone is a deeper sense of love. □
This example reminds us about one thing that love ain’t: simply giving somebody everything he wants. This may be well illustrated with children. We often withhold things from children because we know better than they do what things they really want, say in the long run. For instance, we subject them to trips to the doctor for their shots. Or to 13 years of pre-college schooling. And even though the kids may be miserable at times in these situations, we encourage them, or may even require them, to persevere, knowing that it’s better for them – i.e., will lead to more happiness – in the long run. Well, compared to God, we are but children in understanding. He therefore may withhold something from a person, since He knows better in the long run what they need for happiness. Considering this reasoning, which is likely familiar to most, it’s odd to me that some seem to think that if ever we refuse to give somebody something they want, it must be because we hate them; often this denial results in undeserved accusations of “intolerance.”