Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If God is good....

I've received a number of responses regarding His plan, His omniscience, and the apparent disconnect between those and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  I can only imagine what it must be like to have someone trying to convince you that God is good when you have a mother or father who's not yet saved.  God is good and your child has cancer.  God is good and your wife was killed in an automobile accident last week.  The answer?  I can't wordsmith an answer that will take away your pain, confusion, anger, hurt.  My mom used to tell me that she wished she had a magic wand she could wave to take away my pain after I'd skinned my knee.  I used to think that was just a sweet notion until I had children of my own.  The longer I live on this earth and see the pain of others I find myself wishing for that wand too.

It hit me this morning, I'm not supposed to wordsmith, reconcile circumstances with God's character and provide an emotionally satisfying answer to the questions.  Bottom line, it would be very arrogant of me to try and interject myself as the one who can make it better.  That's Him and Him alone.  He is the one who will grant peace that passes all understanding.  And so instead of engaging in a philosophical argument for the compatibility of pain and the existence of a good God, I want to talk more about His character and where we can go for that peace.

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27

"I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

"And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you." - Phil 4:7-9

"When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  'Where have you laid him?' he asked.  'Come and see, Lord,' they replied.  Jesus wept.  Then the Jews said, 'See how He loved him!'  But some of them said, 'Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?'  Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb.  It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.  'Take away the stone,' He said.  'But, Lord,' said Martha, the sister of the dead man, 'by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.'  Then Jesus said, 'Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?'  So they took away the stone.  The Jesus looked up and said, 'Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  I knew that You always hear Me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent Me." - John 11:33-41

"'Lord, if its You,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to You on the water.'  'Come,' He said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'  Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.  'You of little faith,' He said, 'why did you doubt?'" - Matt 14:28-31

The battle being waged is intended to keep your eyes off of Him and on the circumstance.  It is as we stay focused on Him, His character, and take our pained and wounded hearts to Him that the peace we're seeking (that peace promised to Adam and Eve if they would just take the apple and become like God, that lie that if we can just put ourselves in God's place all will be well) will be ours.  He's promised to us, He's just waiting for us to cry out, "Lord, save us!"  It's not His character that we need to fight and struggle against, its the lie that we know better and if He'd just do it like we think He ought all would be well.  I can promise you with all assurance that as we focus on Him He will "immediately reach out His hand" and rescue us from our persecution of His character.  Bottom line, He loves you.  He is love.  My friends, renew your minds through meditating on all those things in Philippians, ask Him for peace which He will give, and cling to the truth of who He is.

Father, please forgive me if I've misrepresented You in any way this morning.  My aim is to glorify You, Your Name, Your character.  Father, you know the pain and confusion that sin has brought to us and we ask for the peace that only You can give.  You are good, period, and we know that.  Please give us hearts that believe it too.  I love You, Father.  In Jesus' name, amen.

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