I was reading Peril at End House yesterday when I was startled by some very sage wisdom (keen insight) on the part of the aged detective, Hercule Poirot. While discussing the murder of the innocent young woman Maggie Buckley, Poirot begins to blame himself. In an act of kindness, his good friend Hastings murmurs, “Providence.” Poirot, somewhat hotly, replies with this:
“Ah! Mon ami, I would not put on the shoulders of the good God the burden of men’s wrongdoing. You say that in your Sunday morning voice of thankfulness – without reflecting that what you are really saying is that le bon Dieu has killed Miss Maggie Buckley.”
Well wow… will you look at that? A fictional Roman Catholic detective has a whole lot more sense on this issue than most Protestant pastors I’ve heard. For some reason, I’m not all that surprised. As a matter of fact, I do believe I could say that quote back to many things I’ve heard coming from the pulpit. Sometimes, we as Christians are so caught up in “providence,” the “sovereignty” of God, that we forget this world is cursed and full of sinners. We look at something absolutely horrible and say, “Well, that is a very bad thing, but God is sovereign! 😀 ” Yes of course, God is sovereign, but sometimes, bad people do bad things, and it’s bad, really, really, really bad, and there’s nothing good about it. Yes, God can teach us things through the bad that happens, but it’s still really bad.
I remember, a little while ago, two horrific things happened in my life that I thought I would never get over – everybody said, “God is sovereign! This must actually be a good thing!” I always thought, “no, this is not a good thing. It’s a bad thing. God may easily be able to teach me something through this, and good things may come out of it, but this is still a bad thing.” I only wish now I could have had this quote to say back to them when they said that to me.
Sometimes I wonder about us, Christians… a fictional detective oughtn’t to have more wisdom about God’s sovereignty than our pastors and theologians.