Saturday, October 23, 2010

God is Good ALL the Time

I've been doing a lot of thinking, the past couple days.

Great, you say. Good for the head.

No - really. I've been doing more than the usual share of wondering, asking, and pondering. Don't make jokes. This is serious thinking that I've been doing.

There's so much hurt in the world. Death. Persecution. Broken relationships. Greedy dictators. Depression. Anger. Murder. Loss.

So many innocents wounded. Babies killed. Children scarred in their hearts. Wives grieving. Men broken inside. Families starving to death.

Why, God? Why do you let it be this way? Why must they hurt? My heart aches for them.

Why is my life so....pristinely perfect? It almost scares me. Why was I born in the most wonderful country in the world? Why have I never had to hide under a table, clutching my Bible in my hands, while secret police arrest my parents?

Why do I have an entire family that loves God and loves me? Why do I have parents who love each other? Why do I have enough to eat and clothes to wear? Why do I have a wonderful church, where the gospel is preached? Why do I have my grandparents still with me on this earth? Why have I never dealt with any sort of great physical pain at all?

Why have I been blessed with the opportunities to go so many places, meet so many wonderful - and sometimes famous - people? Why was I put in a family that is so popular? Why have I grown up in this lovely location - so close to the city, yet with a big enough yard to get filthy in, and plant seeds and run around with dogs? Why did I love school? Why did I have all the opportunity for the best education?

Why does everything always work out so well for me? Why has God blessed me this way, and not them?

If I think about it long and hard, I can find hardships in my life. I grew up feeling like an "odd ball," the "conservative homeschooler." I had a hard time making close friends as a youngster. I've never met my grandfather on my Dad's side. I've struggled with depression. I have asthma. I have a sister I dearly love who struggles with a lot of physical problems. There are loads of places I long to visit that I've never set foot in. I miss having my older sister living at home. Overabundance of money has never been a disease I caught.

But those things don't come to mind when I'm analyzing my life. When I'm struggling with them, in the moment, they seem overwhelming... but in the big picture, they disappear. When I'm summing it all up, I forget to add them to the total. I count my life a blessed thing.

And it doesn't seem fair. Not when all those other people are suffering beyond my comprehension.

But, ...then, do I really know these people? I haven't met them, or talked to them.

Maybe....maybe they're just like me.

Maybe the drama and misery and agony isn't like movies and novels and such would have me believe. Maybe the trials rise and fall, and their life goes on, just like mine. Maybe God is as close - closer - to them in their big troubles as He is to me in my little ones. Maybe they wouldn't trade their trials any more than I would trade mine and the lessons I've learned from them. Maybe God really does chasten those He loves.


Of course.

But what about the babies? What about the men and women and children who actually die?

O God, where are my eyes? What am I asking? I see things from such an earthy point of view. Help me remember that this world is not all there is. It exists for Your glory. All of history - and every life in it - is here for Your glory. You write each story. You know each soul. And when they leave this earth, why am I thinking that they are over, that they are gone? They have only moved.

How could I have forgotten that You love them more than I do? That You know them intimately? That You planned each second of their life before they came into existence?

The answer to my worries and fears lies in the character of God. I can trust His goodness and love.

Psalm 73
1Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.

2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men...

...16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.
18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
21 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.


SavedGirl said...

Dear Amber,

This was an excellent post. I have struggled with this issue myself before. The Lord really used this to get me thinking the right way! One thing that I have always struggled with is that I always tend to think of persecuted Christians as somehow being "better" Christians that are closer to God than us spoiled Christians. But that is such wrong thinking, especially because if I was on the flip side of that, thinking I was a better Christian because I had suffered, that would be totally self-righteous. Thanks so much for taking the time to post, I always enjoy your rambling/theological posts.

Your sister in Christ

Amber said...

Thanks, Lulu! You always encourage me, and help me not be so hesitant next time I want to "ramble" a bit. :) :)

I think you're right about persecuted Christians being a lot like us - just like Elijah was a man of "like passions." At the same time, I can't help thinking that God is near them in a special way; don't you think so? :)