Have you ever wondered about God and His sovereign control in a world full of frightening events or evil people?
It’s not just that bad things happen to good people, it’s also the appearance in the Bible of a shocking verse, Isaiah 45:6&7, where God says He creates light and darkness and also creates calamity!
But it is easily dismissed by many who say, “that was the Old Testament. Everything is different in the New Testament.”
Lie #2: Because the New Testament teaches that Jesus died so everyone who believes will experience an abundant life, nothing bad will happen to me.
One of the first verses I memorized as a new convert was, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10) Yes, the Bible teaches God wants to bless us abundantly. But there are other truths that cannot be ignored about God’s character and purposes. Partial truth is what the serpent whispered in Eve’s ear.
Hebrews 13:8 brings the God of the Old Testament into the New: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” If Jesus is fully God, and He is, then His personal attributes seen in the Old Testament are unchanged today.
We eagerly embrace the concept of abundant life and promises of blessing because we long for a formula for the Christian life, a way to make sense of a God who doesn’t always make sense. We want promises we can name and claim. This was true of me.
I long for certainty, for control over my world and my people because I love my life and my family and am averse to suffering and pain. I used to believe if I followed God’s rules He would always bless my life and hard things would not enter my world.
My thinking used to go something like this: because He loves me, wouldn’t He reward my desire to obey Him even though I did it imperfectly?
Near death experiences, handicaps, accidents, diseases, losses, failures, prodigals, cancer, a rape, a newborn granddaughter’s death and more have humbled me. Shaken my faith. Reordered my view of God.
I have learned, “The Lord is God and there is no other.”
I have also said with Job, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” Like Job I have not blamed God. (See Job 1:21,22.)
I have questioned Him in my confusion, bewilderment, fear,and panic in these unabundant terrifying life experiences. But I have taken comfort knowing I am not the first to experience setbacks or calamities from God’s hand. I am also not the first to ask questions that have no answers.
God does not owe me anything. He is holy, righteous, and still “a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). It is arrogance to pick and choose the parts of His character I want to follow as if the rest were mistakes.
What about you? Have you found this thinking is also yours?
Do you believe or hope that living a good life will convince God to keep hard things away?
I just read an email about a young Christian couple I know who recently discovered he has metastasized cancer. Early 30’s, one little one, what’s with that? How do you process this information even not knowing them?
Will you pray for those like this young couple when you hear of them and not turn away as if they are contagious? Will you choose to not give into fear remembering that God has promised “never to leave us or forsake us”?