Over the past several months, I’ve been struggling with some health problems. I must admit that this hasn’t been an easy year for me so far, but I’m so thankful for each of the people that have encouraged me (and continue to) through all of this. People have often asked me why God would allow me to go through this and, honestly, a lot of them aren’t happy with the answer that I give.
The plain and simple truth is: God is teaching me. He sees areas in my life that need growth; He’s “pruning” my heart and – while it’s painful now – I’ll bloom more beautifully when He’s done. People don’t like that idea though. They don’t want a God who will let them go through pain and suffering. We go on and on about how much God loves us and we think that because of that amazing love, He’ll keep all affliction at a distance.
What about Paul? When God spoke to Ananias about Paul, He said this:
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” -Acts 9:15-16
In truth, Paul led a very rough life. And yet, he went on to pen several books of the Bible. Through his many trials, he learned; through his learning, he taught things like:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:11-13
So, perhaps it is this amazing love of God that allows us to go through these trials. The Lord knows that – in the end – we’re drawn closer to Him and reminded that this earth is not our home. However, people don’t want to think about a God who would allow them to go through trials, no matter how valuable the lessons are that they will learn.
God: Create Your Own? –
Have you ever been witnessing to someone and they simply reply, “Well, that’s what works for you.”? Unfortunately, people in America have this idea that God is whoever we want Him to be. We’re made to believe that we all have this “hole” in our hearts that can be filled with whatever we like; some people try to fill it with family and friends, others with alcohol, some with drugs; and they’re all no different than the people who fill that “hole” with Jesus. You want a God who only loves and never condemns? Or maybe you’d just like to have that spiritual experience? In our culture, God has become this spiritual drive-thru where you pick what suites you and leave out the rest.
Now, why do we pick apart political chameleons who change they’re point of view based on what the people want, yet want a God who does the same thing? We must realize that our own personal desires never have – and never will – affect who God is. There is no, “Well, who is God to you?” God is who He is and that’s all there is to it.
God: Unchangeable –
“For I am the LORD, I do not change…” -Malachi 3:6
Our God is unchanging, constant, perpetual, continual, invariable; this is all a part of what makes Him God. Do we really want a God who’s subject to our personal whims? God is not some creation in our minds; He’s not dependent on us for anything, He has no need for us and that’s just the way it is. No matter what is happening in this world, God is still the just, loving, zealous, almighty, holy, King of Kings. Nothing can ever change that. Isn’t that constancy more desirable, anyway?