The lens from which God is viewed will dramatically alter the way we live. Either the scenes of life can appear like an array of unsequential events or they can direct us to a greater purpose. Prior to Jesus, I was lost among the myriad of challenging circumstances which for the most part didn’t make sense. It felt like I was forced to carry a heavy burden and endure pointless punishment. Naturally, I would retreat into darkness from a failure to interpret God’s work.
Many wrestle and/or neglect the idea of God because of the state the world is in. They wonder why evil, suffering and pain exist if we are under the rule of a higher power. This conflict is compounded when we make an attempt to use logical reasoning to explain spiritual matters which then breeds disbelief due to incoherency. Ultimately, this results in false representation or an altogether abandonment of such a being. Both of these conclusions are destructive because they have a direct and profound consequence to our existence.
Isaiah 55:8-9. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Depending on how we are positioned, the hardships will prove to be beneficial or detrimental. If we take the time to open our hearts to discover God’s character then we can learn to respond in the correct manner. We’ve been designed in His image so that we can communicate and be in a loving, intimate relationship with our Creator. Our Lord knows the beginning from the end and is pleased to share His promises with us.
We inhabit a fallen world whereby sin is rampant and the ramifications are real. This place was never meant to be heaven, it’s only a pit stop. Since God is not a dictator, He gives us free will so that we can make choices. Unfortunately, a majority of the wickedness that prevails can be attributed to evil that is present in the heart. Not every type of suffering is man-made such as natural disasters and diseases nevertheless these too have a place in God’s grand plan. In any case, He is resourceful and we can trust that good is brewing beneath the surface.
In the Bible, the Lord reveals Himself through a series of situations by everyday people like us. This means He is not floating around in outer space playing a cosmic game of hide-and-seek. God chose to clothe Himself in a physical body so that we no longer have to speculate whether He exists. He is deeply involved in every single detail and desires nothing more than to bring us into closer communion with Him. Through faith in the the sacrifice of His Son, we are invited to be heirs to the Kingdom.
Romans 8:3-4. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Since He can relate to us, it becomes much easier to connect and build a relationship. Thanks to Jesus, God is no longer an elusive entity with an indifference about your plight. Jesus underwent a variety of mortal issues but the only stark difference is that He was sinless. How comforting it is to know that we can rest in the One who oversees all? The key is to trust the Lord with everything but it’s impossible to do this if we’re confused and ignorant about His nature.
John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The seed of sin has no place in Jesus and there is only pure, unadulterated good. Now, here is a critical caveat to consider and that is God’s holiness.
1 John 1:5. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
If the dark is cast away by the light then this means that God has to acknowledge and react to it. This is the part which astounds people the most and if it’s not discerned accurately, it can hinder our ability to walk with Him. We must not confuse our anger with the Lord’s wrath because we are not divine. God is not an out-of-control, child with a magnifying glass trying to burn a hole through the earth for fun. Instead, God’s fury is inflamed by unrighteousness and transgressions because He is not a passive spectator sitting on the sidelines. His prime objective is to uphold virtue and commands that we follow to do the same.
Romans 1:18-20. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Our agony may be a product of the Lord’s rightful displeasure but it always serves as a device used to grow and promote us. The most powerful lessons that I’ve ever encountered were birthed from adversity. Furthermore, I was compelled to draw nearer to God which in itself is the best thing that could ever happen from any disaster. I exchanged temporary emotions for eternal hope and my testimony only gets stronger with each passing tidal wave.
I embrace the message of the cross because it is a reminder that suffering has a superior function. God loves Jesus dearly but did not spare Him from bearing the sin of the world. The Lord turned a brutal crucifixion scene into a glorious gift for our salvation. As believers, we live in the light of this sacrifice so that we don’t lose heart when confronted with opposition. The excellence of God consistently shines through our battles and re-affirms that He is sovereign.
Romans 8:28. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.