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There are two ways to view God.
OK, maybe that’s a little simplistic, but hang in there with me.
We can view God through the lens of our own life and experience. We blame Him when things go wrong. We praise Him when things are good. We wonder why He is not liking us when we can’t sell our house and we have to foreclose and then we find out we still owe a ton of money on a house we foreclosed on. Or when we have a stupid bum car that won’t start half the time when two kids are in the backseat and it’s 30 degrees outside.
Just for instance, maybe. Ahem.
Hello, can you tell I have been there? And here’s the thing: God cares about the things that matter to us. He DOES control everything. But when bad things happen does that mean He hates us? Not at all. God IS love. It’s His nature.
Bad things happened to Job, and yet God loved Job and called him “blameless and upright.” Bad things happened to Jesus, God’s very own Son. Bad things – a LOT of bad things! – happened to Paul, the most prolific missionary of his time.
In Psalm 77 (NLT), the psalmist Asaph writes:
I think of the good old days,
long since ended,
when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
Has the Lord rejected me forever?
Will he never again be kind to me?
Is his unfailing love gone forever?
Have his promises permanently failed?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he slammed the door on his compassion? (vv. 5-9)
It amuses me to no end that Asaph calls it “the good old days.” But the questions he asks here are ones I think most believers have encountered: Does God not love me? Is He going back on His promises? Is He not compassionate?
But Asaph turns the corner in Psalm 77 and makes himself remember the bigger God.
But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.
O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph (vv. 11-15).
This is the second way to view God: through an eternal lens. I might have some problems – who doesn’t? But God is still the God who parted the Red Sea (v. 16). He showed Himself to the Israelites in pillars of cloud and fire. He was born to a virgin, conceived only by the Spirit, grew up blameless, and died for everyone. And He died for me.
Christianity is both eternal and personal. I think it’s OK to see God through both lenses. But through the first, it’s so much easier to feel that God is personally against you. And He’s NOT. He may allow things to happen that you don’t like. Trust me, I sure haven’t liked the last three years of my life especially.
But I firmly believe the Bible is true. I believe God works everything for His good and our good (Romans 8:28). Our “good” will probably not be easy, pleasurable, or fun, always. But it will be good, in the end.
See this post to see a listing of all my 31 days posts in order.